Joel Brodsky turns over Drew Peterson financial documents

Joel Brodsky

Joel Brodsky

Today in court Joel Brodsky turned over some of the documents requested by his former co-counsel.

Drew Peterson’s current defense team filed a motion for a new trial based partly on claims that Joel Brodsky provided their client with an ineffective assistance of counsel and that his desire for money and fame created a conflict of interest in the defense of Drew Peterson who was convicted of murder and awaits sentencing.

Last week they asked for documentation of Joel Brodsky’s financial arrangements with Drew Peterson.

Brodsky fought the subpoena claiming that it violated attorney-client privilege and filed a motion to quash it. Meanwhile Brodsky’s wife, Elizabeth, took to Twitter to say that Joel had nothing to hide and accused attorney Steve Greenberg of filing an unnecessary subpoena in order to create a “three ring circle (circus).”


However, Drew Peterson, seemingly giving up all allegiance to his one-time friend and lawyer, signed a letter clearing the way for Brodsky to produce the requested documentation.

Although Brodsky did turn over some documentation at today’s hearing, there are still some records outstanding. Steve Greenberg says:

“There’s still more records. Hopefully we’ll get them and that will be that.”

Another status hearing date is set for next Wednesday.

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74 thoughts on “Joel Brodsky turns over Drew Peterson financial documents

  1. Who is DP going to blame for this lame-brained idea after all his ‘secrets’ are exposed? Seems to me DP is volunteering for a ‘life’ sentence without parole.

  2. Maybe a stupid question (but then again I never needed a lawyer for murdering anyone either), but if Drew has now signed a letter waiving attorney-client privilege, does that only pertain to his financial records or is Joel now also free to talk/submit other things that perhaps may not put Drew in such a favorable light ??

  3. JAH, I don’t think that’s a stupid question.

    AFIK, the waiver is limited only to the claims that have been brought against Joel.

    So, he’s free to talk about and provide evidence pertaining to his financial arrangements with Drew, what he told Drew about his previous experience when Drew first hired him, why he decided to call Harry Smith to the stand, etc.

    But nothing beyond that scope.

  4. As far as waiver of attorney-client privilege in cases of ineffective assistance of counsel claims,

    The waiver should be no broader than needed to ensure the fairness of the proceeding. Any requirement of production of attorney notes, etc. should be carefully tailored to protect Sixth Amendment rights.

    If a defense lawyer believes that the ineffective assistance of counsel allegation triggers an exception to confidentiality, the committee observed that Comment 14 “cautions lawyers to take steps to limit ‘access to information to the tribunal or other persons having a need to know it’ and to seek ‘appropriate protective orders or other arrangements . . . to the fullest extent possible.’” The committee explained that under the self-defense exception, the lawyer must limit disclosure of information relating to the representation of the client only to what is necessary to respond to the ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

  5. If anyone needs a refresher, here’s the memo that Steve Greenberg filed which outlines the claims against Joel.

  6. Of course there have been countless leaks of supposedly sealed and impounded information since 2007. If someone knew something and wanted to make sure it got out (because they were now bitter and butt hurt or whatever), I don’t know of anything that could keep that from happening.


  7. Maybe at the end of all these shenanigans Joel is going to be the one ending up suing Drew – now wouldn’t that be something – LOL !

  8. OK, I had to go back and revise my post somewhat so I apologize.

    I’m hearing now that although Joel was complaining that the subpoena violated the attorney-client privilege, that was never the case and so no “waiver” was required. At least that’s what I’m being told from one person who says no permission is required to pass documents from one lawyer to another when they were all part of the same defense team. “Privilege is equal and shared”

    It seems like Joel put on the brakes and resisted but then agreed to turn over documentation if he got a letter from Drew telling him to release the reports.

  9. But the financial arrangements made with Drew prior to the other members joining the team surely were between Drew and Joel alone and sanctioned/approved/supported by Drew or did he get paraded around for five years against his will (!) ?

  10. “that his (Joel Brodsky) desire for money and fame created a conflict of interest in the defense of Drew Peterson”.

    I find it hard to believe that Joel’s desire for money and fame exceeded that of his client.

    They were in this together from day one……..

  11. Hope Judge Burmilla sees through this ruse!

    Ruse: A ruse is an action or plan which is intended to deceive someone, for example a ruse of war.

  12. I see your point JAH. I’ll try to ask a few more legal minds tomorrow.

    I think this is a somewhat unusual case, seeing as Joel has left Peterson’s defense and that any of the documents being requested might be incriminating.

    However, the fact that he is turning things over does make it seem as if he has no legal justification for withholding them.

  13. This certainly makes me want to ask the rest of the dream team what their arrangements were with DP.
    Not camera-shy, are they?
    How was Maksym paid?

    I’m sure DP made cash, too. I don’t believe all the fees for TV went into JB’s pocket.alone….. or at least I’d be shocked to learn that DP let that happen. Something like 50/50 for everything earned above JB’s hours.and expenses.

    As for JB’s secret about Drew and “one other”, it’s highly possible that whatever it is is no secret to LE, for instance whomsoever is responsible for the anonymous letters claiming sightings of Stacy. (I think of this because it happened after JB was on board.). jmo

  14. Somethings fishy…because STAND BY MY MAN ELIZABETH is defending the man..and if he is put under the bus ….she will make sure he doesn’t go alone….a lot of the unknown here..

  15. I think the conflict of interest suspicion could be applied to *any* attorney who defends a high-profile case and stands to enhance their career whatever the outcome. Just sayin’. It ain’t just the $$$$.

    Even a very very good lawyer can’t ultimately be blamed if a GUILTY client is convicted.

    If JB is guilty of confict of interest, imo, so are all the others.

  16. One could argue that SG et al are pulling this as a stunt to increase *their* profile before their ‘opportunity’ is transferred to Statesville.

    Well, that and delivering a defense lawyer’s second-best result for their client, and that’s to delay going to prison for as long as possible.

  17. It seems pretty hypocritical for any of Drew’s lawyers who did on-camera interviews to be claiming that Brodsky, in doing so, displayed a conflict of interest.

    Perhaps they didn’t all sign the same financial agreement with Drew, but surely they were never ignorant of it and if “privilege is equal and shared” between the attorneys then perhaps so too is responsibility.

  18. Great points by all! Drew didn’t want to pay for an attorney from the beginning. Drew Peterson was giving interviews to Newsweek and on TV long before Joel entered the picture. They all are fame seeking individuals. IMO They never believed the State had a case in regards to Kathleen. That was a botched investigation. IMO, the whole lot of attorneys who participated on this case at one point or another, thought their careers would benefit from such a huge profile case. They weren’t representing Drew for free. It was an exchange for advertising their names and hopefully picking up media gigs.Bucket, I think your comment about SG is right on the mark.

  19. True, Bucket. Drew’s attorneys are in it for the notoriety and to impress future clients. They don’t have to believe their client is innocent, just be able to pull all the strings at their disposal to get him off or get the best deal possible. I guess that’s the way the game is played 😦 IMO though, “someone” in this bunch appears to be as sleazy, arrogant and dishonest as his client. I’m thinking that would not be a plus if you’re innocent and need a good defense lawyer 🙂

  20. I’m so glad the jurors didn’t see the daily interviews the dream team did 2 or 3 times a day…the instant dislike a lot of us had..brodsky and peterson were just the warm up….after the verdict and listening to the jurors…the prosecution proved beyond a doubt…without the knowledge we had…Smith and Schori brought it home….

  21. Brodsky’s comment about information on Drew and “another” points to family ties. IMO I’m not going to make any false accusations, but Daddy Drew has certainly done a fine job of involving his son in this mess. IMO I agree Bucket, LE most likely knows or has a good hunch on any information involving another person linked to Drew.

  22. From Steve Greenbergs Memo filed December 13, 2012:

    ” In 2007, when Drew took to the airwaves, he needed serious representation; an even-keeled, seasoned trial lawyer who would artfully guide him through the coming storm. Instead, he was lured into accepting Captain Joel Brodsky”

    so that is how it came about – LOL

  23. And as for that quote, Pfffffft.

    Drew Peterson had his pick of lawyers. He chose Joel because he took a liking to him, saw similarities in their personalities that made him choose Joel.

    He got what he wanted.

  24. The motion cites this old story from the Tribune (although not these bits):

    After watching Peterson appeal for a lawyer in November during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, Brodsky said he contacted the network to pass his name on to Peterson.

    Brodsky said he was vying against a dozen or more lawyers — some of whom wanted as much as $250,000 upfront — when he met with Peterson, conducting some of the interview in Brodsky’s car to avoid the horde of reporters and cameramen in front of Peterson’s Bolingbrook residence.

    “We talked for about an hour and a half,” Brodsky recalled. “He said, ‘You’re it.'”

    Brodsky said that he brought paperwork, laying out his credentials, but that Peterson made his choice without reading it.

    “He said: ‘The way I decide is I meet somebody. I trust them or I don’t,'” Brodsky recalled….

    …Whether others approve of Brodsky’s style or not, it may well have helped in his meeting with Peterson in November. In a phone interview last week, Peterson maintained that he picked Brodsky for other than financial reasons.

    “He has a great legal mind. He has the ability to recall cases and points of law that’s uncanny — and Brodsky’s fun,” Peterson said. “He kind of clicks with my personality.”

  25. If Brodsky’s version of that meeting is accurate, then it wouldn’t have mattered how he represented his experience and ability to Drew.

    Peterson simply liked him and hired him, which he had every right to do…and he had about 5 years in which to fire him if he wasn’t happy with his representation.

  26. I was laughing at the paragraph in Steve Greenberg’s memo, because he unintentionally gives Joel an awful lot of credit for being so skillful he was able to “lure” Drew in representing him.

    Drew was a seasoned cop with experience in undercover work, yet according to Steve Greenbergs memo to the Court it was a piece of cake for Joel to “lure” poor innocent little Drew into all sorts of things Drew didn’t want to do and take a financial advantage of him – LOL !

  27. The decision reads:

    A number of the defendant’s allegations concern alleged “conflicts of interest” on the part of his trial counsel. While most of these are in reality claims of incompetence, one, in particular does genuinely relate to a supposed conflict of interest. This is the claim (No. 3) that his attorney “was offered a book deal in April 1979, [and that] even while he refused to accept this offer the seed was planted as to how much money was or could be made. The offer was six million for book rights. From that point forward, [trial counsel’s] main concern was making and keeping records, as he called it; `To preserve the record for a book.’ Tapes were made on all previously covered conversations, all writing by the defendant was taken and kept by the defense attorney even after trial. He was more concern[ed] with that then preparation for the defense.”
    Had trial counsel actually accepted this alleged “book offer,” this claim would be worthy of serious consideration. Under our Rule 5-104(b) (107 Ill.2d R. 5-104(b)):

    “Prior to the conclusion of all aspects of the matter giving rise to his employment, a lawyer shall not enter into any arrangement or understanding with a client or a prospective client by which he acquires an interest in publication rights with respect to the subject matter of his employment or proposed employment.”

    So in the Gacy case, the lawyer never actually accepted a book offer so it wasn’t an issue.

    As far as I know Joel Brodsky did not accept one either.

  28. and moreover (again this is the Gacy decision):

    However, the mere fact that the defendant’s attorney was offered, and refused to accept, a contract for publication rights does not constitute a “tie” sufficient to engender a per se conflict. We could not therefore reverse on the basis of this alleged conflict without some showing of prejudice — i.e., without a showing that the alleged conflict caused specific, identifiable deficiencies in defense counsel’s performance. The allegation that defense counsel kept careful records of his transactions with the defendant proves nothing — careful records would be valuable for many legitimate purposes relevant to the conduct of the defendant’s case. The general allegation that defense counsel neglected the defendant’s case in favor of keeping records for a later book sale is, without more, meaningless. Because the defendant has not pointed to specific actions not taken because of too much attention to careful record-keeping, he has not sufficiently alleged prejudice.

    So the court decided in favor of the lawyer in that case and did NOT reverse Gacy’s conviction.

    So why did Greenberg cite this decision in the memo?

  29. The memo alleges that Joel was paid for his involvement with the writing of Drew Peterson Exposed.

    Well, that’s a new one. I’ve never heard of a situation where an author pays for the privilege of writing a book. I do know that Joel Brodsky consistently stated that neither he nor Drew made any money from the royalties.

    But at the time we did speculate quite a bit as to whether Drew was paid for the interview, the photographs or whether money went into a trust fund for his children. I think author Michael Phelps said that is what had been discussed with him.

  30. This is what Drew’s PR person said about the writing of the book and finances:

    Against the advice of his criminal defense attorneys, Joel A. Brodsky and Andrew Abood, Mr. Peterson agreed to take a polygraph. Mr. Brodsky, acting on Mr. Peterson’s instruction, arranged for the test and selected a Chicago-area polygraph examiner with 34 years’ of experience and past chairman of the Grievance Committee of the Illinois Polygraph Examiner’s Assoc.. Mr. Peterson took the exam at Mr. Brodsky’s office over the summer. Mr. Armstrong did not pay for the polygraph to avoid any appearance of impropriety. The polygraph examiner charged his standard fee of $5 per examination, and will not receive any further compensation.


    Mr. Peterson had no editorial control over Drew Peterson Exposed, and has not, and will not, receive any compensation for his cooperation with Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Peterson’s goal was to have his complete story told without bias.

  31. IMO the questions are: Was JB smart enough to profit from any ill-gotten gains (present or future) and sly enough to keep it hidden so it couldn’t be used against him? Or was he dumb enough to get his cut, and leave a trail that will show he was using Drew for his own gain? I’m sure there is another question… would he do such a thing? But I’m not considering that one. Of course this is complete speculation on my part.

  32. Well, who’s to say that any money Joel made was ill-gotten?

    Most lawyers do get paid for their work and from the beginning Joel Brodsky stated that he was not representing Drew for free.

    I mean, say that Drew Peterson had no cash to pay a lawyer so instead worked out a barter situation with Joel, i.e., a cut of appearance/interview fees in exchange for representation–which is what they appear to have done–is that legally wrong? Drew loved the camera and was going to talk to the press no matter what.

    Didn’t Joel have a right to get some compensation for his work, and as long as Drew was fully aware of how it worked (as opposed to Joel secretly siphoning off funds or something) and signed off on it, would it be a breach of ethics?

    Personally, I don’t think much of the arrangement, but if Drew was on board with it and it didn’t create a conflict with him being adequately represented (team of 6 lawyers!) then is it really grounds for a new trial for the murderer?

  33. Facs, I couldn’t agree with you more. Peterson did not want to pay out large sums of money for an attorney. No one forced him to hire Joel Brodsky. Everything was all smiles during the gun charges, etc.
    I personally find Greenberg’s focus for appeal weak. If Brodsky was after personal career fame and additional money making opportunities, then he and Drew Peterson had much more to gain by putting on a good defense and having the charges dismissed. Wouldn’t that make an individual work harder?

  34. With that many attorneys representing Drew Peterson. how can they not all be blamed? The jury found Drew Peterson guilty. The majority of the population in Illinois agrees that Drew Peterson is guilty. AND I’ve not talked to a single male or female who does not believe he is also guilty of Stacy Peterson’s death.
    As a citizen of Illinois, do I need to pay for another trial for this murderer?

  35. Stilllearning & Facs I don’t think Burmilla will find grounds for a new trial either. Just saying those are my questions about JB actions IF there actually was a conflict of interest in which he was putting his desire to profit above his clients best interest… I don’t see the proof either, so I would answer “no” to both my questions 😉 I’m looking forward to hearing the judge’s responses to all the accusations in the motion. I have faith he will cut through the bluster as he’s always done, and send DP off to prison where he belongs.

  36. New Trial For Drew Peterson? Old Lawyer Thinks So
    February 5, 2013 1:05 PM

    CHICAGO (CBS) — Drew Peterson’s former lawyer, Joel Brodsky, thinks he’s found a reason for Peterson to get a new trial.

    It concerns attorney Harry Smith, who testified that Stacy Peterson asked him whether she could get more money in a divorce if she threatened to use what she knew about how Peterson killed his third wife Kathleen Savio.

    WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports, it was explosive testimony that didn’t go the way Peterson’s lawyers intended.

    Smith testified he didn’t warn Stacy Peterson she’d be committing extortion, only concealment of a homicide.

    But in an interview with the DuPage County Bar Association, he contradicts his testimony and mentions extortion.

    Brodsky caught it and thinks it’s grounds for a new trial.

    “I read that article and I almost fell off my chair when I read that quote, literally. It was amazing.”

    He’s turned the information over to the current defense team.

    “You have to understand this is key,” Brodsky said. “If Smith had testified truthfully that he told her that this was extortion, it certainly would have confirmed the defense theory [that Stacy was making baseless threats for money]. [It] would have impeached Stacy’s credibility greatly and could have resulted in a totally different verdict at the trial.”

    At the time of the trial, another defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, publicly accused Brodsky of botching the case by calling Smith, who was Savio’s divorce attorney, to testify during the trial.

    Experts have said it was the most glaring error by Brodsky. Smith testified how Stacy told him Drew had killed Savio.

    Smith said Stacy had contacted him about getting a divorce from Drew, and told him she had information about Drew that might be used as leverage in a divorce.

  37. Joel Brodsky doesn’t realize that Harry Smith was just using Joel’s own “White Noise” technique!

    He was just saturating the media with different versions so that he couldn’t be held down to one when it came to trial.


  38. If this interview was published prior to the trial, then why didn’t defense team know about it and use it to impeach during examination, when they had the chance?

  39. I still think it’s just a matter of how you look at that alleged statement by Stacey. Brodsky has always looked past the incriminating evidence that Stacey knew Drew killed Kathy…..which is how everyone else seems to “hear” that statement. The only thing he wants us to “hear” is that this is evidence Stacey was lying in order to extort more money from Drew.

    Not so, poor Joel. Not so. Most sane people see this as Stacey’s admission that she caught Drew in the middle of the night washing clothing that wasn’t hers — blood-stained clothing. She confronted him and then fell for his alibi because she “loved” him and covered for him in order to “protect” him.

    Simple to understand, really, given the highly trained DP versus the young and naive Stacey.

    This is just one more clear example of the sociopathic behavior of both Drew and Joel. They live in their own little world, never comprehending why others see things so differently.

  40. Joe Lopez says this is just more fodder to back up the claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, since Joel never confronted Mr. Smith about this interview.

  41. Joel can twist it and turn it and pull it inside out, but he can’t escape the fact that he made a huge blunder by asking a smart lawyer some dumb questions, expecting to get the answers he wanted.

  42. Facs, I probably shouldn’t have read that last sentence while drinking my iced tea!

    Sorry I have been misspelling Stacy’s name all this time. I usually try to pay particular attention to how the names are spelled!

  43. If the Defense Team felt Brodsky should follow up with questioning Harry Smith, why didn’t the “Dream Team” say so. That many attorneys and they all sat there not knowing what to do??????
    I don’t follow the logic in claiming Stacy was attempting to extort Drew. So, that’s why Drew hauled her out of the house in a blue barrel and she’s somewhere on a beach? Gosh, that makes all the difference.
    The Defense coudn’t tip-toe around the fact that Stacy Peterson was presumed dead. I don’t think the verdict would have been any different, with or without Harry Smith.

  44. I guess the deal is that Joel thinks since he found an online interview where Smith was saying something else took place, that he perjured himself and so….(stay with me here)…Drew gets a new trial!

    Of course, Joel is the one who called Smith and had the opportunity to attempt to impeach him on any and all statements. If he failed to do so when he had the witness on the stand, what does he expect now? Do overs?

  45. SL, I think I get what the logic behind the ‘extortion’ bit was:

    The state had called Schori who told about Stacy telling him she’d seen Drew coming home late and loading items of women’s clothing into the washer. He also said that Stacy told him Drew coached her for hours as to what to say to police.

    Joel (and apparently Drew) wanted to rebut that testimony and called Smith so that they could have him say that Stacy wanted to extort money from Drew (and was willing to lie in order to do it).

    So if that move had been successful they could have taken a swat at what Schori had testified to and made the jurors believe that Stacy was a liar and had lied to Schori. (Remember, the jury couldn’t hear a word about her disappearance and probable murder.)

    But it wasn’t successful. Joel was unable to elicit that testimony and when Smith said that Stacy wanted to know if she could get more money if she threatened to tell what she knew about Drew killing Kathleen, and that he had warned her that she could get in trouble for concealing a homicide (not trying to extort an innocent man) Joel was “taken by surprise” (his words) to the extent that he was unable to successfully impeach Smith.

    I’m sure you recall that he then tried to remedy all this by asking for a jury instruction (which was just kind of pathetic) telling jurors that Smith’s warning hadn’t been based on actual fact, but he didn’t get it.

    Too late.

  46. I don’t see why Smith wouldn’t have cautioned Stacy over both concealing a homicide and that extortion isn’t the way things are done. I don’t see any problem with that at all.

    As for the extortion accusation against Stacy, she asked an attorney, she didn’t set about blackmailing DP. She asked a question

    DP was convicted because he’s guilty, not because of JB. The lawyers are making it all about themselves. Again.

  47. Thank you, Harry Smith, for not pursuing facetime everywhere on the back of the murder of two mommies and the four children suffering the worst loss that can befall a child.

  48. “I read that article and I almost fell off my chair when I read that quote, literally. It was amazing.”

    How funny Joel. When you called Harry to the stand, I almost fell off my chair. It was amazing! 🙂

  49. Joel is on the war path!

    By Ellen Jean Hirst
    9:31 p.m. CST, February 6, 2013

    Joel Brodsky, an attorney who represented Drew Peterson before he withdrew from the legal team in October, has filed a libel lawsuit against attorney Steven Greenberg and the Tribune Company, among others.

    Brodsky says that a letter obtained by the Tribune from Greenberg, at one time a co-attorney on Peterson’s legal team, contained material that was “false and misleading,” according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

    Brodsky’s suit claims Greenberg’s letter “was comprised of a false narrative designed (to) defame Brodsky as revenge for (Brodsky’s) attempt to terminate (Greenberg) as one of Peterson’s attorneys …”

    The lawsuit states the letter defamed Brodsky by claiming he was a liar and an incompetent lawyer, among other counts.

    After Peterson was found guilty of the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in September, the lawsuit says Greenberg had motive to defame Brodsky, so the blame of losing the case would be placed solely on Brodsky.

    The letter put Brodsky’s law office “in a false light in the public eye,” causing him to lose out on profits, according to the lawsuit.

    Brodsky lists the Tribune Company as a defendant for publishing information from Greenberg’s letter.

    Also listed as defendants in the case are Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair, AOL Patch, Patch Media Corporation and Patch editor Joseph Hosey.

    Brodsky is represented by Chicago attorney Walter P. Maksym, who said in a statement Wednesday that he’s confident Brodsky will win the case and “that his good name will be cleared and his professional reputation will be restored.”

    The Tribune declined comment.,0,2145774.story

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