Drew Peterson Keeps Legal Team, Denies Asking New Lawyers To File Appeal
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Updated 10/12/12 – 4:23 p.m.
JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) – The Will County judge who presided over Drew Peterson’s murder trial had to sort through some legal drama on Friday, about what attorneys would represent the former Bolingbrook police officer going forward.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports it appeared Peterson was going to fire lead defense attorney Joel Brodsky, but after some backroom maneuvering, Peterson instead decided to keep together the legal team from the trial that resulted in his conviction for the 2004 murder his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Brodsky denied his head was ever on the chopping block.
“There is not a chance in the world I was going to be out of this case,” he insisted.
But his body language told a different story, as he looked like a kid who had lost his puppy.
It was thought Brodsky was out as Peterson’s lawyer after two other attorneys filed a motion for a new trial, accusing Brodsky of providing ineffective counsel to Peterson.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports
John Paul Carroll and Michelle Gonzalez filed that motion earlier this week, and Gonzalez claimed Peterson wanted them to take over the case.
“I had a meeting with Mr. Peterson this morning, where he said he would like us to file our appearances,” Gonzalez said.
But Peterson told Will County Judge Edward Burmila at a hearing on Friday that he didn’t want attorney John Paul Carroll and his partner as his lawyers.
Brodsky said, “We’ve got rid of … John Paul Carroll and Michelle Gonzalez, the bottom feeders.”
Gonzalez said she was surprised Peterson told Burmila he didn’t want her and Carroll to represent him.
“Mr. Peterson, I believe, was influenced by Mr. Brodsky to say no,” she said. “Mr. Peterson has a loyalty to Mr. Brodsky, and he is concerned about Mr. Brodsky’s reputation if we went forward on this motion.”
Brodsky said Gonzalez is incompetent, and she and Carroll wanted to take over the case without Peterson’s permission.
Gonzalez said that’s not true.
“I guess denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, is it? Drew wants nothing to do with them, trust me. Nothing,” Brodsky quipped. “I think that perhaps Ms. Gonzalez needs to seek some serious mental help, because she obviously needs it, because she makes stuff up. I mean, that’s just pure fantasy.”
Brodsky and the rest of the defense team from Peterson’s murder trial huddled with him for two hours on Friday.
The motion filed by Carroll and Gonzalez was not made part of the official file on the Peterson case, because Burmila found it was filed improperly.
Brodsky said he’ll ask a judicial review panel to investigate Gonzalez and her Carroll.
“People like that really shouldn’t be practicing law, and the quicker they’re disbarred, as far as my concern, the better. They’re bottom feeders, they’re obsessed,” Brodsky said, claiming Carroll has been trying to join the case for years. “He’s a menace, and an embarrassment to the profession, so good riddance to bad garbage.”
Carroll and Gonzalez were not the only lawyers who sparred with Brodsky on Friday.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, according to sources, Brodsky and defense attorney Steve Greenberg almost came to blows in a courtroom hallway. Greenberg publicly accused Brodsky of botching the case by calling Savio’s divorce attorney Harry Smith to testify during the trial, against the advice of the rest of Peterson’s legal team.
Greenberg will remain on the legal team, despite Brodsky announcing last month that he had been fired.
Smith testified that Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, told him Peterson had killed Savio. After convicting Peterson, jurors said Smith’s testimony was critical to finding him guilty.
Last month, Brodsky said Greenberg had been fired for “his total and complete failure to complete or do any of the tasks for which he was brought on the team.” Brodsky claimed Greenberg had failed to file motions to keep out damaging evidence, and failed to object to several prosecution witnesses.
But Peterson told the judge on Friday that Greenberg would stay on his legal team, and outside the courthouse after Friday’s hearing, Brodsky was quoting “The Blues Brothers.”
“I guess the band’s back together again,” he said. “Even though two of the bands members … might have to learn to like each other again, the band seems to be back together again to move forward with the appeal.”
Brodsky said he and Greenberg both apologized to one another for the heated confrontation.
Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who personally prosecuted the Peterson case, said, “In 31 years of practicing law, I’ve never experienced defense attorney theatrics of this nature.”
Burmila will hear Brodsky’s motion for a new trial on Dec. 19. Peterson’s sentencing, originally set for Nov. 26, was pushed back to Jan. 10, 2013.