Peterson Attorney Furious After Being Fired
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UPDATED 09/12/12 10:44 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — One of Drew Peterson’s defense attorneys is furious at remarks made by his former co-counsel after he was fired from the defense team.
Peterson was convicted last week of the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Attorney Steve Greenberg has since been fired from the defense team, and on Tuesday night, lead defense attorney Joel Brodsky accused him of shoddy legal work.
“He was terminated for his total and complete failure to complete or do any of the tasks for which he was brought on the team,” Brodsky said. “He absolutely failed to bring important motions to keep out important evidence. One of his jobs was to make objections, and he failed to make almost any objections for the first three to four witnesses that were called; therefore, a failure to preserve important objections for appeal.”
Brodsky also claimed that Greenberg had made his dismissal public, which he called “very unprofessional.”
Greenberg was also unprepared for his cross-examinations, and would still be printing out documents to grill witnesses when those witnesses were already on the stand, Brodsky claimed.
“We found that just to be unacceptable preparation and behavior for an attorney who was trying in a murder case, and while we didn’t do anything in the middle of the case – because we were trying to stay as cohesive as possible – now that the case is over, he has been terminated for his failure to perform and failure to accomplish the tasks for which he was hired,” Brodsky said.
But Greenberg said Wednesday that none of Brodsky’s claims are true.
“I didn’t make my dismissal public. I filed many motions to keep out important evidence and was successful, and I was never printing out documents while questioning witnesses – that would be impossible to do,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg says it was Brodsky who was guilty of poor legal work.
“I spent much of the time trying to keep him from reading blogs and Twitter, and to pay attention,” he said.
He went on to call Brodsky “completely incompetent when it came to strategy and dealing with people. He was offensive to the judge and jury.
“Anyone who was in the courtroom knows that he was the weak link in the defense. Anyone who was in the courtroom knows that I was extraordinarily successful at almost everything I did,” Greenberg said. “His attempt to make me the fall guy for his faux pas is shameless.”
The decision to fire Greenberg comes after jurors said testimony from Harry Smith – the divorce attorney for Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio – ultimately led them to decide on a guilty verdict.
Greenberg was reportedly heard warning the defense against calling Smith to the stand.
But Greenberg says Brodsky was warned by Judge Edward Burmila not to call Smith.
“The judge questioned Brodsky on things and told him, ‘Don’t call Harry Smith,’” he said. “His courtroom persona was laughable.”
The team is interviewing new attorneys, one of whom will take Greenberg’s place as Peterson begins the appeal of his conviction, Brodsky said.
But Greenberg said he expects more attorneys will decide they cannot work with Brodsky.
“Look at the facts of every lawyer he works with who can’t work with him, and watch as the other lawyers drop out,” he said.
He added that he expects Brodsky will be detrimental to Peterson’s appeal.
“If (Peterson) wants a shot at freedom, he’ll continue with the others,” Greenberg said. “If he wants to stay in jail, he’ll continue with Brodsky.”
During the trial, Peterson’s attorneys showed no evidence of internal discord, although they did show plenty of dramatic flair. Often wearing matching sunglasses, the three attorneys – Brodsky, Greenberg and Joe Lopez – would slam prosecutors’ attempt to convict Peterson using hearsay evidence to try the case.
Initially, the Will County Coroner’s office ruled Savio’s death an accidental drowning. But her death was reclassified as a homicide after an exhumation and a new autopsy, following the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, in October 2007.