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Judge To Hear Peterson Request For New Trial Next Month

Drew Peterson (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Drew Peterson (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) – A Will County judge will hold a hearing next month on a new-trial request from Drew Peterson’s defense team, based in part on what they claim were bad decisions by former lead defense attorney Joel Brodsky.

Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder last September in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

On Thursday, Judge Edward Burmila set a Feb. 19 hearing date for the motion for a new trial.

At the hearing, Peterson’s defense team will be allowed to act as both witnesses and lawyers, in an effort to convince Burmila the case was botched by Brodsky.

Peterson himself might be called to testify.

Defense lawyer David Peilet said the most glaring error by Brodsky was calling divorce lawyer Harry Smith, who testified how Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, told him Drew had killed Savio.

Smith said Stacy had contacted him about getting a divorce from Drew, and told him she had information about Drew that might be used as leverage in a divorce.

Brodsky has said the entire defense team, and Peterson himself, agreed on calling Smith to the stand, in an effort to show other statements from Stacy were unreliable, because she was seeking a divorce and trying to get more money from Drew.

“The irony is that the allegations, some of the allegations against Mr. Brodsky, just don’t hold muster, because you all saw them in court working together,” says Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

The defense was also renewing objections to hearsay evidence allowed at the trial – specifically statements Stacy allegedly made to other people about Drew.

Peterson, sporting a prison buzz cut, sat expressionless with his feet shackled and hands cuffed in court on Thursday.

Cassandra Cales, the sister of Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, was also there. She expressed confidence Peterson will not get a new trial.

CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller agrees. He said it will be difficult for Peterson to argue that he got ineffective counsel from so many experienced attorneys.

If Burmila rejects the motion for a new trial, Peterson’s sentencing hearing would be the next day, Feb. 20.