New Drew Peterson documentary

For the last month or so CNN has been working on a new documentary about the Drew Peterson trial, his new conspiracy charges and the lives of Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson.

For weeks they were doing research here on the blog and I was contacted by a producer named Max Newfield for help with source materials.

Sue Savio, sister of Peterson’s third wife, was interviewed for the special report and went to Facebook with her hope that her interview will help in her fight against domestic violence.

sue-doc

Pastor Neil Schori, who was the confidant of Stacy Peterson, had a positive experience with the production as well, stating that correspondent Jean Casarez was “great” and that she gave him “a chance to talk about how we can help victims” of domestic violence.

neilschori-doc

Even Joel Brodsky, Peterson’s controversial lawyer,  seemed to have enjoyed his involvement.

joel-doc

But not everyone was thrilled to see the cameras. When Drew’s son, Stephen, spotted them in front of his father’s Bolingbrook house, he referred to the crew from CNN as “F’ing vultures” and bemoaned that “it never ends.”

video-crew-petersons-cropped

From the ad on CNN’s site, it looks as if Stacy’s Aunt Candace Aikin was interviewed as was Joe Hosey, author of the book Fatal Vows: The Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson which was adapted for the Lifetime Movie, Drew Peterson:Untouchable.

CNN Special Report, Married to a murderer: The Drew Peterson Story, airs on Tuesday, June 30 at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific time. Check your local listings for channel.

UPDATE JULY 7: Peterson’s trial for the solicitation of murder (of State’s Attorney, James Glasgow) has been rescheduled for November 13. His lawyer wants to hire an expert witness and give them time to research, etc.

06/18/2015 Motion to Continue on file. Petition to Approve Expert Witnes Retention and Funding on file.

07/07/2015 Parties appear; motion hearings continued to 9-1-15, 9am; case set for jury trial selection on 11-13-15, 9am; jury trial set 11-16-15, 9am. Agreed Case Management Order on file. *copies given to all parties.

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Stacy’s family, Kathleen’s son and Peterson react after viewing “Drew Peterson: Untouchable”

The family of Stacy Peterson watched the premiere of the Lifetime movie, Drew Peterson:Untouchable, from the Bolingbrook hotel where Stacy was working when she first met Drew Peterson. They later met with the news media and gave their impressions of the film.

Drew and Kathleen’s eldest son, Tom Peterson, made mention of the film with a dry comment on his Facebook feed: “I’d never thought I’d see it: public excitement, anger, and frustration over a new lifetime movie.” He goes on to state that his father was portrayed as a much bigger jerk than he is and that neither he nor his brother ever walked in on their parents having sex.

(Where did they get the idea for that scene? We’ve been asking around and no one will fess up to having told the writers this story.)

Earlier in the day Joel Brodsky brought a DVD screener to Drew Peterson to watch via his lawyer’s laptop, while detained in the Will County Adult Detention Center in Joliet. Peterson’s reaction was predictable. He deemed the movie to be “hysterical” and complained about the way his hairstyle was worn by actor Rob Lowe. Joel Brodsky seemed most concerned with making sure everyone knew that the movie was a fictionalized account of events, despite the fact that the movie has never been marketed as a documentary.

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“Drew Peterson: Untouchable.” Live-blog here tonight

Tonight is the premiere of the made-for-TV Lifetime movie, Drew Peterson: Untouchable. I’ll be watching even though I’m not a fan of Lifetime movies and certainly not a fan of the title character. I am, however, interested in anything having to do with these cases and am curious to see how the story will be told.

Since I know we’re going to want to pick at every little thing in the movie we are going to live-blog it in the comments section. If you’d like to comment feel free to chime in as well.

The movie airs at 8 pm (7 central time). Check the listings in your area for channel, etc.

Official movie site

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Forget Rob Lowe’s looks. Why did Lifetime subtract 10 years from age difference?

Stacy and Drew Peterson, Kaley Cuoco and Rob Lowe

By now we’ve all seen the unintentionally hilarious trailer in which Rob Lowe utters, “I’m Untouchable, bitch” through the open garage door of his frightened neighbor. If you’ve been watching Lifetime channel or sought them out on YouTube, you’ve maybe seen a couple of the longer ads which reveal glimpses of domestic violence, a body in a bathtub and Rob Lowe’s unconvincing suburban Chicago accent. If you make your living as a movie reviewer you may have even already seen the movie, “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” which is set to air on January 21.

The movie, which is based on Joe Hosey’s book “Fatal Vows: the Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson”, has upset some people. The public wonders if the story is premature–after all, Peterson has yet to be convicted of murdering anyone and Stacy Peterson remains a missing person. Some family members are upset that they were never consulted about the film and that none of its proceeds will go to searches for Stacy or to fight domestic abuse. Peterson and his defense team are possibly the most upset at the making of the movie. A character depicting Peterson seems to be involved in some very bad things that Peterson denies ever having done and not only that, he’s not making a dime off it!

Personally, I’m on the fence. I’m glad to see attention being focused back on the lives of Stacy Peterson and Kathleen Savio after being overshadowed by years of Peterson’s tasteless and cruel public antics. On the other hand, since it’s a Lifetime movie, I fully expect it to be melodramatic and cheesy and maybe it is premature to make a reality-based film about a story that is yet to be resolved.

I am a bit bothered about the casting choices. It isn’t so much Rob Lowe’s good looks that I find so jarring, but rather that he is a good decade younger than Drew Peterson. Meanwhile, Kaley Cuoco, who plays Stacy Peterson, is 26–three years older than Stacy was when she disappeared. It just puzzles me why Lifetime would choose to take the impact away from a very real fact of the story. When Drew Peterson first started dating Stacy Cales, she was 17 and he was 47! If you look at the photo at the top of this story on the left you see a couple who could pass for father and daughter, while the fictionalized version on the right just looks like a couple.

There’s no denying that Peterson has a penchant for very young women and Stacy Peterson was not the only Bolingbrook teenager to catch Drew’s eye. He met Christina Raines, his on-again off-again girlfriend, when she was just 15. Diana Grandel, who carried on a romantic correspondence with Peterson in jail, went public to say that the two of them had met when she was 14 and Sergeant Peterson responded to domestic disturbance calls at her home. To some it appears that Officer Peterson used his uniform and position of authority to impress young girls and perhaps even to groom them for a sexual relationship. With facts like that, it’s surprising that the filmmakers would want to go easy on Peterson when it comes to the age difference…or maybe they just thought that Cuoco could play seventeen (I’m not convinced that she can).

But, ultimately a movie is a movie and reality is reality. The reality is that Peterson sits in jail, awaiting trial for murder of one wife, another wife has been effectively erased from the face of the earth and family, friends and the public all hope for justice.

UPDATE 1/18: Check out the snippets and links to new interviews with Joe Hosey, the author of Fatal Vows, and Mikael Salomon, the Director of Untouchable in the comments thread below.

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Lifetime releases trailer for “Drew Peterson: Untouchable”

No doubt you’ve already seen this preview of the Lifetime movie, Drew Peterson: Untouchable, which is based on Joe Hosey’s book, Fatal Vows.

Intercut between scenes of a violent domestic struggle, Rob Lowe as Drew Peterson would appear to be re-enacting the episode in which Sharon Bychowski was terrorized by her next-door neighbor using a remote garage door opener. According to Bychowski, she had lent the opener to Stacy Peterson who left it in the family’s Denali. After her disappearance the SUV was impounded by the state police and then returned to Sgt. Peterson who discovered the opener while going through the car’s contents. He then used the opener to open and close Bychowski’s garage door in an attempt to intimidate and frighten her. According to Drew’s lawyer, Drew found a number of garage door openers and was simply testing them all to see what they would do.

As for the catch phrase “I’m untouchable, Bitch”, it’s a nice cheesy touch but probably didn’t happen. This is how Bychowski related the story to Nancy Grace back in March 2008. “He walked on the sidewalk, looked at my house, smiled, and then he hit the garage door. Then he hit it a second time, as if to say, I’ve got your garage door opener. Ha, ha, ha.” The incident caused Bychowski to call police and seek a restraining order.

If you’ve been following the case, you’ll recall that this wasn’t the first incident with Drew Peterson and a garage door opener not his own. Prior to Kathleen Savio being found dead in her bathtub, Peterson used a pilfered garage door opener to gain access to the house he had once shared with her. According to letters and a police report, Peterson cornered Savio inside her house where he threatened and berated her for an extended period of time. This is the incident that prompted Savio to write, “He knows how to manipulate the system and his next step is to take my children away from me or kill me instead.”

Yesterday, Joel Brodsky told the press that he had played the trailer for Peterson over the phone and that Drew found it to be “hilarious”.

It would seem that Peterson’s lawsuit to block production of the movie was completely unsuccessful, and he will not be seeing a dime of the proceeds.

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Maybe Drew Peterson’s defense team should go “buy” the book.

The weapons charges against Drew Peterson were dismissed in November, 2008. However the State has appealed that decision and would like to pursue the charges again. Last Monday, August 3rd, Drew Peterson’s defense filed a new response to the prosecution’s decision to appeal a court’s dismissal of gun charges.

While one could question why attorney, Andrew Abood is filing a 30-page brief about the appeal of a dismissed weapons charge when his client is already in jail indicted on two counts of murder, it’s a little more concerning that some of the information given in the response is blatantly un-factual.

In particular, this quote from pages 29-30:

No one can deny the Chicago Tribune and the Naperville Sun have reported on this case regularly. The Naperville Sun has even published a book about Mr. Peterson, featuring him on the cover connected to a lie detector machine.

For the record, there have been only two books published about the Peterson case. Neither of them was published by the Naperville Sun.

fatal-vows1Joseph Hosey, who reports for the Herald-News in Joliet, authored “Fatal Vows: The tragic wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson“. It was published by Phoenix Books.

The other book written about the Peterson case is by Derek Armstrong. It’s called “Drew Peterson Exposed” and it was written after Peterson’s publicist, Glenn Selig, went looking for an author to tell “Drew’s side” of the story. It’s published by Kunati Books.

exposed-book-coverPlease note that the book cover showing Drew attached to the “lie detector machine” is that of Armstrong’s book–the book  written after Drew voluntarily provided “hundreds of hours” of interviews and personal photos to the author. It should also be pointed out that the polygraph of Peterson took place at the offices of his lawyer, Joel Brodsky, and at Brodsky’s request. In fact the photo credit in the book reads, “Photo courtesy of Brodsky & Odeh”.

So, to be clear (since Abood is not), the photo in question was one that Drew Peterson actually posed for, taken by and provided to the author by Joel Brodsky…and yet the defense team is now using it as an example of how the jury pool has been tainted.

If Peterson’s defense team can’t get details like this straight, can we trust the accuracy of any of the information in those 37 pages?

When Joel Brodsky was asked to comment on such an embarrassing gaffe, this was his response:

I think it’s a very slight mistake. I took the picture for Drew and he gave it to author Derek Armstrong to prove Drew took the lie detector test, which was a prerequisite for Armstrong to do his book. The picture (part of the book cover) was later re-published in the Naperville newspaper and I also believe in the Joliet Herald and the Sun Times when Armstrong’s book came out. The Naperville Sun did not publish the book, but they did publish the picture of Drew on the lie detector. However, Joe Hosey, who works for the Sun Times Group, of which the Naperville Sun is a part, did in fact author a book about Peterson. The line in the brief should have read “The Naperville Sun published a story about Mr. Peterson, featuring him on the cover of a book connected to a lie detector machine.” This is not a big deal, and these things happen, (like when the New York Times has its daily “clarification and corrections” section every day on page 2 of its newspaper). Its not significant to the legal argument, and we will clarify the issue in the rebuttal brief.

UPDATE AUGUST 14: Two days ago, Abood filed a correction which reads:

The Naperville Sun even published a story about Mr. Peterson about a book featuring him on the cover connected to a lie detector machine.

Now, the information has gone from false to nonsensical.

The original brief:

The letter of correction submitted August 12

Drew Peterson’s next hearing is on August 10.

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Exclusive: Interview with Joe Hosey, Author of Fatal Vows

Joe Hosey, Author of Fatal Vows

Joe Hosey, Author of Fatal Vows

Native New Yorker Joseph Hosey has been a reporter for the Chicago area’s Herald News since 1999 and has been on the cusp of every major development in the Drew Peterson case. He is the only member of the media to cover Kathleen Savio’s inquest, and he broke the stories of her death as well as Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.

We didn’t get to ask him all of the questions we had for him during Susan Murphy Milano’s show last week but Joe kindly consented to take the time to follow up with a few questions for us at Justice Café.
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About seven weeks ago you mentioned that you thought Drew would be arrested in the next seven weeks or not at all. Time’s up! Has he gotten away with murder?

“Is it up already? I guess you are right. At this point, I would say he is not going to be arrested. But from the first day, I always maintained Stacy would not be found and Drew would not be charged with doing anything to her. I did and still do base this opinion on the track record of James Glasgow and a lack of faith in the Illinois State Police.”

Things have been very quiet for the last few weeks, as far as media appearances and “stunts” from Drew. Was the tasteless April Fool’s joke on Mancow’s show the last straw? Has Drew finally decided to clam up?

“The last straw? Not at all. I don’t think Drew has decided to clam up. In fact, I don’t think he decides much of anything. That’s up to Brodsky. I just think the public has grown tired of him. There’s no more novelty, and I’m surprised he’s kept the public’s attention for as long as he has.

I do want to keep this story in the public eye with legitimate articles about breaks in the case or significant developments, but with the apparent lack of activity or progress by the state police and state’s attorney, that has been increasingly challenging.”

We wrote a few posts about “wing-gate” in our blog (the revelation that Joel and Drew are bartering interviews in exchange for plugs for Joel’s sports bar). Do you know if it’s a breach of ethics for an attorney to use his client’s notoriety in order to market some side business? How about the fact that Joel Brodsky asked interviewers to personally endorse his establishment when they hadn’t personally been there?

“I checked with some sources about this. Whether it is unethical or not, I doubt Brodsky will ever be taken to task for it. As far as asking interviewers to endorse his place when they have not been there, I imagine media personalities endorse things in a similar manner quite often.”

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