Drew Peterson Update: Gossip, Rumors and Innuendo

It’s been a while since there’s been any big news to report about the Peterson cases but that doesn’t mean nothing has been going on recently.

This summer there have been a few filings in the Savio’s wrongful death suit against Drew. Attorneys will be back in court on September 26 for Judge Power’s decision on the Savio’s motion for a summary judgement.

In August, prosecutors filed a motion requesting that Steve Greenberg step down from Peterson’s appellate team, claiming that the libel suit brought against Greenberg by Peterson’s ex-counsel, Joel Brodsky, created a conflict of interest for Greenberg. At the time of the filing Greenberg called the claim “absurd”.

Yesterday, Greenberg tweeted that Brodsky had withdrawn the libel complaint because he “didn’t comply with the rules (no surprise) and didn’t state a cause of action”. Greenberg went on to tweet that Brodsky has said he is going to re-file but needs to find an attorney to represent him.

brodsky-drew-kissMeanwhile, Joel Brodsky has shared the contents of some of his letters from Drew Peterson with a local Fox affiliate. He claims to have received nine letters from Peterson and made public a few excerpts from letters he received in March and April (Peterson began his prison sentence in February). The excerpts were complaints about the discomfort of prison life, and worries for his safety. This is consistent with the kind of letters Peterson wrote while in jail while awaiting trial, which he sent to the Sun-Times and other media outlets.

While public response to Peterson’s complaints has been overwhelmingly negative, his defense team questions Joel Brodsky’s decision to share any of the correspondence which was labelled as “legal mail” on the envelopes. In a Facebook comment, Steve Greenberg wrote, “Communications r fine. But keep em private. Don’t read them to a reporter” and Brodsky’s former law partner, Reem Odeh, wrote, “Are you serious? It’s all about integrity and the best interest of your client, respect for the law, justice system and integrity of your practice.”

Attorney Reem Odeh

Attorney Reem Odeh

Speaking of Reem Odeh, has Joel Brodsky really taken to Twitter to insinuate that she has ties to Nidal Hasad, the Fort Hood shooter? “Did you know that Hasan comes from the same village in West Bank as Reem Odeh, the former Drew Peterson atty. Distant cousins” he tweeted. “Odeh’s mother went to Hasan’s mothers home on the day of the shootings to express her sympathy and support. I was shocked.”

As for Peterson, it would appear that he has begun to adjust better to prison life since those April letters. More recently, his correspondents have been reporting that Peterson has started to make use of his popularity as a pen-pal to help out his fellow prisoners by sharing lists of inmates who would like pen-pals and to inquire about correspondence courses.

Cassandra Cales

Cassandra Cales

Lastly, rumor has it that Cassandra Cales, sister of missing Stacy Peterson, has just returned from New York, where she consulted a celebrity medium, possibly to be aired as part of a reality show on TLC.

An appeal of Drew Peterson’s conviction is expected to be filed within the next 30 days.


Vaughn murders: Finger-pointing former Peterson attorney unsuccessful in bid for mistrial

In a last-ditch effort to reverse Christopher Vaughn’s murder conviction prior to sentencing, ex-Peterson attorney George Lenard filed a motion on Monday listing 51 reasons why his client deserves a new trial. Among those claims was one that the publicity-seeking media antics of Drew Peterson’s defense team had contributed to the jury’s decision to convict Vaughn of murdering his family.

Christopher Vaughn’s trial took place in a neighboring court room at the Will County Courthouse and was partially concurrent to Peterson’s. Lenard’s motion claimed that jurors were exposed to a press conference in which Peterson’s lawyers appeared to mock his missing and deceased wives. The motion posited that the disgust this engendered influenced their feelings about defense attorneys in general, and caused the jury to become biased against Vaughn and his defense.

However, on Tuesday Judge Daniel Rozak denied the motion, saying there is no evidence that jurors were even aware of the other attorneys’ news conferences. Vaughn was sentenced to serve four life sentences for the murder of his family.

Never media-shy, the Peterson team rallied to the cry and responded to reporters and via Twitter to lambaste the efforts of the lawyer who had once represented Drew Peterson.

Steven Greenberg, who was criticized by co-counsel Joel Brodsky after Drew Peterson’s guilty verdict, and briefly fired only to be brought back into the defense fold, joked on Twitter that once again it was not his fault.

Joe Lopez, who replaced George Lenard on the Peterson defense in 2010 after Lenard withdrew citing irreconcilable differences with co-counsel Joel Brodsky, was particularly jovial and compared Lenard’s claim to that of the famous Twinkie Defense (which, although highly criticised, was successful).

Present Peterson team member Steve Greenberg and Joel Brodsky, who withdrew last month and is being accused of providing Peterson with ineffective assistance of counsel, stated that it was just another example of blaming the already highly criticized team.

Joel Brodsky: “I guess if it rains tomorrow, it’s my fault.

Meanwhile, the Peterson defense has been attempting to reverse their own client’s conviction on the grounds of some dubious claims. Already there have been two motions filed asking for a new trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel by Peterson’s long-time attorney Joel Brodsky. He’s being accused of being more motivated by media exposure and book deals than in successfully defending his client and of erroneously calling to the stand an adverse witness who gave testimony putting Drew Peterson at the scene of his wife’s murder.

The state has until January tenth to respond to the defense motions.

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Drew Peterson loses in last ditch effort to bar hearsay, girlfriend testimony and a letter to Tom Peterson


We’re hearing that the defense wants to have pathologist Dr. Vincent DiMaio testify about the “many” cases of healthy adults drowning in bathtubs. The prosecution asked Judge Burmila to compel him to identify even once instance of this, as he would not do it. The State has their own witness they would like to testify about statistics showing that virtually no healthy adults drown in bathtubs without some sort of drug or alcohol component but the judge decided it was too late to add another witness. (BTW, DiMaio’s own book would seem to counter what he would testify to).


Next hearing date is scheduled for 7/18 at 10:00 am.


In a rather strange ruling, Judge Burmilla has decided that prosecutors cant bring the tub that Savio died in, into the courtroom; but if they have the tub re-installed in the house on Pheasant Chase where she died, that jurors can be brought in to look at it.


The defense lost a motion to bar testimony from one of Peterson’s former girlfriends, Susan McCauley, a woman whom he was having a 9-month affair with while he was married to Kathleen Savio. Prosecutors say the former Bolingbrook police sergeant made conflicting comments to her about what happened to Savio and what caused her death. In another motion argued and lost today the defense team had alleged that Will County Sheriff’s deputies violated Peterson’s privacy by intercepting a letter that he sent to his son, Tom Peterson, away at college in Pennsylvania. Prosecutors convinced the judge that the jail was following written policy and within its rights to intercept detainee communications.


A Will County judge Tuesday morning shot down a last-ditch defense effort to prohibit jurors from hearing testimony about statements made by Kathleen Savio before she died. Attorneys on both sides are expected to spend much of the day hashing out some half-dozen motions. Reporters were asked to leave the courtroom about 11:30 a.m. so attorneys could discuss one motion behind closed doors.


In the last hearing, the defense indicated that one of its motions might require a “Frye hearing”. Frye hearings are generally used for dealing with the admissibility of scientific evidence.

REMINDER: According to the Court Administrator, Drew Peterson’s murder trial will not be broadcast live from inside the courtroom.

The following items are expressly prohibited from the Will County Courthouse:

  • Weapons (or any item that may be used as a weapon in the opinion of Court Security Officers)
  • Cell phones that have a camera and/or recording ability
  • Recording devices
  • Cameras (without the permission of the Chief Judge)
  • Scissors
  • Pepper sprays or Mace
  • Food or beverages

Chicago Tribune
Chicago Sun-Times
Trib Local

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“Emergency Motion” court date tomorrow for Drew Peterson

We noticed a couple of new events for the Drew Peterson murder case and a hearing scheduled for tomorrow, May 25, at 4pm.

05/23/2012 Emergency Notice
05/23/2012 Impounded Document- Motion to Limit Electronic Communication to…

Since that’s all we’ve got from the Will County Circuit Court site, we could only speculate at this point about what the motion entails. It’s impounded which means that the motion isn’t available for public inspection, but we’ll try to find out what it’s about and will update as we learn.

UPDATE NOON CST: Since the motion is impounded we won’t be able to report more about it unless someone else leaks it. We’ll let you know if that happens. It’s likely that there won’t be an actual court appearance by Peterson tomorrow.

UPDATE 6:15 CST: Well, what do you know, information about the impounded motion was leaked after all, along with some tidbits about the defense (which would indicate to me that the source was a member of the defense team). Guess we’re free to write about it now.

The motion to “limit electronic communication” was filed under seal Wednesday. Sources told the Chicago Tribune that the state’s attorneys office was worried that too many conversations about the case were being handled via email and after standard work hours.

UPDATE 5/25/12: After a heated hearing, during which the State complained that the defense was emailing the judge directly in an attempt to make arguments outside of court, Judge Burmila agreed to limit e-mail communications between all parties to business hours. (See ABC video above)

Feel free to discuss the case in the comments thread. We’ll probably see Drew back in court on June 6th.

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Will Drew Peterson’s murder trial be dismissed because of Harry Smith?

Last Friday, Drew Peterson appeared in court for the first time in almost two years. A new Judge was appointed to his trial for murder and his defense team also filed a number of motions which were then impounded.

One of the motions asked that the murder charges be dropped because of the testimony offered by Wheaton attorney, Harry Smith. Smith testified at the Grand Jury which indicted Peterson, and again later at a pre-trail hearing to test the admissibility of fifteen hearsay statements.

Peterson’s team says that by offering up testimony regarding Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson, that Smith violated attorney-client confidentiality and called it the “worst breach of attorney ethics”. They feel the breach is so grievous that not only should Smith not be allowed to testify at Drew’s trial, but that Peterson’s entire case should be thrown out of court.

Since Smith was Savio’s attorney, we can only presume that she is the client in question here, and there is no doubt that Smith represented Kathleen during her divorce from Drew Peterson, but their relationship ended abruptly with her death in the 2004, and he was officially dropped when the executor of Kathleen’s will (Peterson’s Uncle, James Carroll) informed him that his services were no longer needed.

Seeing as Kathleen had asked Smith to go to police in the event that she died and to tell them that Drew had killed her, it would seem that by talking, he is only fulfilling his obligations to his client, rather than breaching any confidentiality.

Of course it’s easy to see why Peterson’s defense would try to keep Harry Smith from testifying. He has a good deal of compelling testimony to deliver on the stand. He will testify that Stacy Peterson (not a client of his) spoke with him twice in the week before her disappearance. She told him that she wanted to divorce Drew Peterson and asked if she could get more money from the divorce if she threatened to tell the police what she knew about Peterson killing his third wife. She told him that “Drew was pissed because he thinks I told (his son) Tom that he killed Kathy”. Peterson told the media that he was “shocked” to learn that Stacy had had discussions with Attorney Smith.

Smith may also testify that at the time of Kathleen’s death, things were not going well for Drew Peterson in the later stages of his contentious divorce from Savio, and that Peterson was aware of it and angry. Smith testified at the pre-trial hearing that shortly before Savio was found dead, a judge had told him and Peterson’s attorney that she was about to recommend that Savio be allowed to keep the couple’s Bolingbrook home, receive a share of his police pension, child support and some money from the sale of a bar the couple had owned.

In march of 2008, Harry Smith gave a lengthy interview to Roe Conn on WLS-AM 890 in Chicago. At that time he could not mention what Stacy had told him about Drew killing Kathleen, but he gave a full account of his dealings with both Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson. It’s a good listen.

Acandyrose has a complete transcript of the above interview.

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Drew Peterson denied bid to get out of jail…again.

Not surprisingly, Joel Brodsky’s latest attempt to spring Drew Peterson from jail while awaiting an appellate court’s decision on hearsay evidence, was denied last week.

Brodky’s motion read very much like previous bids, and even seemed to have contained a paragraph or two with outdated information cut and pasted from previous motions. Since virtually nothing about the circumstances had changed since the last request, it was pretty easy to assume that the decision would be the same this time – and it was.

Peterson remains in solitary confinement at the Will County Adult Detention Facility, where he has been detained since his arrest in May 2009. He is charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Read more at the Shorewood Patch

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Drew Peterson asks to get out of jail – again

Drew Peterson’s attorneys filed a motion today appealing the decision to keep Peterson detained while awaiting a decision on hearsay evidence. Peterson asked to be released last August as well, but was denied.

Read more at the Shorewood Patch

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