Illinois Supreme Court to hear Drew Peterson’s appeal. Former attorney intends to sue for defamation

Photo courtesy IDOC

A smiling Drew Peterson in his current mug shot

I apologize for not updating the blog last week but, unlike Drew Peterson, I was sitting by a pool in the shade of a palm tree.

On March 30 the Illinois Supreme Court announced it would hear ex-Bolingbrook cop Drew Peterson’s appeal of his 2012 conviction for killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004.

The decision came as a bit of a surprise to the legal community, as the Illinois appellate court upheld Peterson’s conviction in November, 2015, stating in their opinion that “since we have found that no errors occurred, defendant’s claim of cumulative error must be rejected.” The chances of the appeal making it to Illinois’ highest court also seemed slim because historically only 5% of petitioned cases are heard.

Peterson’s appeal is based on claims of ineffective counsel on the part of attorney, Joel Brodsky, the admission of several hearsay statements admitted under the forfeiture by wrongdoing exception, and that evidence given by Pastor Neil Schori at trial violated confidentiality.

Meanwhile, Peterson’s murder-for-hire trial is amping up for May, based on charges that he solicited an inmate to kill Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who prosecuted the Savio case.

Peterson appeared in court on Friday for a short case management conference. Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker announced the prosecution would tender its official discovery to the defense on that day, and the date of April 22nd was set for the next case management conference.

Reem Odeh posing with a book about the Peterson case

Reem Odeh posing with a book about the Peterson case

In a strange turn of events, former Drew Peterson attorney, Reem Odeh, is asking Cook County to order to Google to supply her with information about the origins of what she says are libelous reviews left on one of her law practice’s social media pages.

According to the petition, Odeh said she intends to sue for defamation the party or parties responsible for the posts, published in January and February 2016.

According to the Cook County Record,

The petition cited one such post, purportedly posted under the alias of “Drea Sanchez,” which called her a “horrible, lying and deceitful woman claiming to be a great lawyer” who “is an embarrassment to all members of The Bar Association.” The post further called on the Illinois Supreme Court to suspend Odeh’s legal license.

Other posts, submitted under other aliases including “Abdullah Mubarak,” “William Levi” and “Nura Galaski,” allegedly accused Odeh of having “a reputation of getting around;” of having come to court “late as usual smelling like cheap beer;” of having made “bad remarks about the Latin/Polish community;” and of never being prepared for court, among other accusations. The post from “Mubarak” also described her using the term “sharamoota,” which the petition said was a derogatory Arabic term for “prostitute.”

Odeh’s petition said the reviews “are rife with false accusations regarding (Odeh), a married woman, including allegations that (Odeh) attends court appearances under the influence of alcohol; that she is adulterous; that she lies to the court and opposing counsel …; and otherwise incompetent at her profession.

Of course I have no idea who is behind the posts but I do remember that Odeh’s break with her former law partner, Joel Brodsky, was acrimonious to say the least and that a spate of negative comments cropped up about her after she testified that Brodsky had attacked her when she left with a copy of a contract between Joel and Drew at Peterson’s pre-sentencing hearings. Brodksy’s wife, Elizabeth, was especially candid when commenting on her husband’s former law partner.


Whether Mrs. Brodsky still carries a grudge, or Odeh has new enemies remains to be seen. Presumably, all could be revealed if Cook County rules in her favor and Google cooperates.


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.

Drew Peterson murder trial: The defense team

Drew Peterson’s public relations firm, The Publicity Agency, has announced a page for news related to the Peterson defense. The page contains bios of the most current defense team line-up.

Missing are attorneys Reem Odeh, Andrew Abood and George Lenard, who defended Peterson during 18 days of hearings 2009-2010. They left the team after citing irreconcilable differences with Joel Brodsky. Also missing is attorney Walter Maksym, who was asked to leave the team after being disciplined for poorly written legal briefs. What follows is an abbreviated version of the bios as presented by the Publicity Agency:

Joel A. Brodsky

Joel Brodsky was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Illinois in November, 1982, and is in his 30th year of the practice of law. Mr. Brodsky has been admitted to practice in all Illinois State Courts, the Federal Courts for the Northern District of Illinois, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He is also a member of the Federal Trial Bar.

Mr. Brodsky has tried numerous felony and misdemeanor criminal cases before both juries and bench. In addition to his criminal practice, Mr. Brodsky takes civil cases in areas that interest him. He has represented clients in child custody and visitation matters where issues such as religion, junk science evaluations, and visitation interference have been at issue. He has also represented clients in both Illinois State Court and Federal Court in commercial matters such as legal malpractice and trade secrets cases. He has also handled a number of appeals to the Illinois Court of Appeals and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Steven A. Greenberg

For more than 25 years, attorney Steven A. Greenberg has defended people accused of serious crimes in Illinois. He has handled dozens of challenging federal cases involving drug crimes and white collar crimes, more than 100 murder cases, and countless narcotics cases. His record of accomplishment includes hundreds of other state and federal felonies. Mr. Greenberg appears frequently on national and local news shows, including Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, providing commentary on high-profile criminal cases and important legal issues. He is a Chicago attorney with a national reputation and has repeatedly been selected to appear in Illinois Super Lawyers and in Illinois Leading Lawyers.

Ralph E. Meczyk

Ralph E. Meczyk has tried over one hundred and fifty jury trials to verdict in both State and Federal District Courts throughout the United States. He has also tried hundreds of bench/judge trials, motions to suppress evidence, and motions to quash arrests in those same venues.

Mr. Meczyk has also had the rare privilege of arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court. In 2004 he briefed and argued a landmark search and seizure case (Illinois v. Caballes) before Chief Justice Rhenquist and the other eight justices of that court.

Joseph R. Lopez

Joseph R. Lopez, has been a criminal defense attorney for 25 years. He graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1983. From 1985 to the 1990s, he was dubbed the in-house counsel for the notorious “Cali Drug Cartel” from Cali, Colombia. From the 1990s to the present, Joseph has also defended some of the Chicago Outfit’s most ruthless hit men including Anthony “The Hatchet” Chiramonti, Tony “Tough Tony” Calabrese, and Frankie “The German” Shwiess. Most recently in the biggest mob prosecution since Al Capone, he represented Frankie “The Breeze” Calabrese in Operation Family Secrets in which a jury returned a verdict on 7 of the 13 mob hits charged against The Breeze. In addition, Mr. Lopez has been known to represent members and leaders of many of Chicago’s most ruthless street gangs including the Satan Disciples, Latin Kings and 26ers and has appeared in Federal Courts from coast to coast representing members of different Mexican Drug Cartels. Joseph has been awarded the “”Super Lawyers” certificate for multiple years. He has been named the Marquis “Who’s Who In America” for outstanding achievement. Mr. Lopez was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve on the Capital Litigation Committee, which screens applicants for certification in death penalty cases.

Darryl A. Goldberg

As a criminal defense lawyer, Darryl A. Goldberg takes an aggressive and proactive approach in defending his clients’ rights and freedom. He believes in building the strongest and most effective defense possible and vigorously seeks either a dismissal of the charges or victory at trial. Darryl Goldberg is a trial lawyer who is not afraid to go to trial. Based in Chicago, Illinois, he defends clients throughout Illinois and across the country in both state and federal courts. Whether your enemy is your local states attorney or the United States government, Mr. Goldberg is experienced and ready to fight for you. He provides zealous representation for all major felonies, including federal drug and conspiracy charges, white collar crimes, murder, weapons possession, sex crimes, racketeering (RICO) charges and numerous others.

Lisa M. Lopez

Lisa Lopez was licensed to practice law in Illinois in 2010. While attending the John Marshall Law School, she earned the rare distinction of winning both Best Brief and Best Oralist in the Dean Fred F. Herzog Moot Court Competition. She later served as an Associate Justice on the Mott Court Honors Board and Technical Director of the Horizon Program. Ms. Lopez gained experience into her first high-profile trial in the momentous Family Secrets trial.

Ms. Lopez is a trial lawyer in the making having participated in numerous federal and state trials. She is admitted to practice in the Northern District of Illinois as well as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and will soon apply for admission to the federal trial bar having earned the necessary credentials. She is also the Second Vice President of the Women’s Criminal Defense Bar Association.

SOURCE: Peterson Defense Team PR page

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Reem Odeh withdraws from Drew Peterson defense

Attorney Reem Odeh

After months of rumors and following a formal split from her law partner in August, attorney Reem Odeh filed a request today to be removed from the defense of Drew Peterson for the murder of his wife Kathleen Savio.  She cited “irreconcilable differences with defense counsel Joel Brodsky” as the reason for her request.

In August, the offices of Brodsky & Odeh officially called it quits, with Joel Brodsky saying that the two attorneys had “grown in different directions”.  But at that time Odeh stated that she would “continue to be a part of the defense team.”

In the weeks prior to the split, rumors were circulating about  Joel Brodsky renewing the lease for their offices in his name only, changing the office phone numbers, changing the locks, and hints of far worse behavior.

In early August, Brodsky’s wife, Elizabeth Brodsky, ran an advertisement via Facebook for, “two offices with amazing view of the lake and millinium park for reasonable rent. The office will be remodeled completely at the end of September.”

On Saturday Ms. Odeh commented on her Facebook wall, “It’s been stressful. I was able to experience first hand how evil people could be towards one another and my patience and temper was really put through a big test.”

Odeh also punned in an update that she was taking care of the “haggage” that had invaded her office, while preparing to move forward with her career “working with real professionals with honesty and integrity”.

As early as January 2008 Odeh had spoken up about disagreeing with the way Brodsky was handling their high-profile client, saying, “I don’t think it’s appropriate. I think it is in the client’s best interest to keep it quiet and focus on the case. But he just says the case is going to make us famous and we’re all going to get book deals.” Joel Brodsky later claimed that she was misquoted, but Ms. Odeh never did retract the statement.

Odeh’s withdrawal follows in the footsteps of attorneys Andrew Abood and George Lenard, who withdrew from the Peterson case last April citing “irreconcilable differences” with co-counsel Joel Brodsky.

UPDATE 9/29: Andrew Abood contacted us with a statement about Reem Odeh:

Just a comment about Reem Odeh who seems to be taking some criticism. She is a good, honest and decent person. She is great mother. At a young age she has a unique quality about her — she is a rainmaker. She is able to generate a lot of business because clients have confidence in her and her abilities. A lot of law firms find lawyers that can sit in an office and punch out the billable hours, but finding a lawyer like Reem that can actually generate clients is a rare quality and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to practice law with her and I appreciate the comments that she made about me to Joe Hosey.

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Is Drew Peterson’s “hot” attorney hot under the collar?

Reem Odeh, former co-counsel Andrew Abood and George Lenard, and Joel Brodsky leave the Will County Courthouse.

Drew Peterson has seen a fair amount of rotation in his legal team roster as of late. In April, Andrew Abood and George Lenard, walked away from the case citing “irreconcilable differences” with lead attorney Joel Brodsky. Although four more attorneys have been recently added to the defense, only Brodsky’s partner, Reem Odeh, is left from the original triad. But from what we hear, the attorney most regarded as “the hot one” might be more aptly described these days as “hot under the collar”.

A source tells us that yesterday after the defense’s motion to have Judge Stephen White removed from Peterson’s case was denied, Odeh was overheard outside the courtroom venting to a former co-counselor about a move that may have irritated the Judge. “Way to go.” she was heard to utter sarcastically. Visibly annoyed, she expressed her frustration that rather than being taken seriously she has to endure constant remarks about her attire and appearance by co-counsel. She then left the premises for the day.

This would appear to be a repeat performance for the model-turned-attorney, who during the hearsay hearings was also seen storming out of court after arguing with Joel Brodsky.

Although other Peterson defense team members have become familiar faces due to their many media appearances, Reem Odeh has stayed in the background since taking on the case. Despite being praised by Joel Brodsky as being “an essential part of the team,” he is the one who traveled with Drew and sat at his side for numerous interviews.

In January 2009 Odeh was marketed in an embarrassingly patronizing press release, entitled “Drew Peterson Attorney Not Just a Pretty Face.” The release stated, “Reem Odeh wants the public to know that beyond her stunning good looks is a hard-nosed attorney who is detail-oriented and brings keen analytical skills to Team Peterson.” Sounds like something that might need to be circulated amid Peterson’s “Seven Samurai” rather than to the public.

A year earlier, Odeh was quoted in the Chicago Tribune disagreeing with the way her co-counsel was allowing their high-profile client to speak to the press, saying, “I don’t think it’s appropriate. I think it is in the client’s best interest to keep it quiet and focus on the case. But he just says the case is going to make us famous and we’re all going to get book deals.” Joel Brodsky later stated that she was misquoted, although Ms. Odeh herself did not say so.

Will there be a samurai recount in the future? Stay tuned…

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Drew Peterson pleads not guilty to murder

Former police officer Drew Peterson pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday on first-degree murder charges in the 2004 slaying of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

9:47: The prosecution has asked for Judge Richard Schoenstedt be removed from Peterson’s case.

10:01 According to MSNBC Brodsky is challenging the move to change judges, and Will County Chief Judge Gerald Kinney is slated to hold a hearing on the issue Thursday.

10:03: The request sent the hearing into a recess, and it is going to be continued until Thursday.

10:14: Press Conference: Brodsky says Drew is going to get a vigorous and zealous defense.

Now that the charges have been brought, it will limit what they can say. They’ll try to be as open as possible.

Calling the proceedings gamesmanship and says the State doesn’t want to try this case on the merits. Says they want to try it on technicalities.

Says it shows the State’s weakness.

10:15: Abood says the motions says prosecution believes the judge is “prejudiced against the state.”

10:16: Reporter: Savio’s familoy says that Drew was smirking and waving at them today. Abood says he was with Drew and didn’t see it.

10:17 Reporter asks Joel about being paid for interviews. He skirts it by saying “News agencies don’t pay for interviews”.

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