Drew Peterson gets more time to think about legal representation
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org October 12, 2012 12:16PM
Updated: November 15, 2012 6:27AM
Drew Peterson told a judge Friday he did not agree with claims that his lead attorney lied to him and botched his case.
Then he said he wanted more time to think about it.
The acrimony among the lawyers claiming to represent Peterson came to a head Friday in Will County Circuit Court.
Judge Edward Burmila had the task of sorting out what has become a confusing mash of motions and accusations, as two lawyers each claimed Peterson wanted him on the case but not the other guy.
Peterson, 58, is facing up to 60 years in prison for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
A motion for a new trial was filed Tuesday by Naperville attorney John Paul Carroll and his partner Michelle Gonzalez that they say was based on Peterson telling them the ways lead attorney Joel Brodsky provided ineffective assistance.
Carroll and Gonzalez were not officially Peterson’s attorneys when they filed the motion.
When Gonzalez stepped up to appear on Peterson’s behalf Friday, he said he didn’t want her to represent him.
Peterson also initially told Burmila he did not agree with the allegations against Brodsky.
The motion lists 14 reasons why Peterson believes Brodsky failed in his representation of Peterson, including lying to his client, encouraging Peterson to generate as much publicity as possible, preventing Peterson from hiring additional lawyers and in calling Harry Smith, a witness who was a key part of Peterson’s conviction, to testify during the trial when Peterson did not want him to.
Burmila urged Peterson to get an attorney other than Brodsky to go over the motion with him.
“Anybody against whom the allegations are directed should not be the person to advise the defendant whether or not he should adopt the allegations,” Burmila told him. “It would be a fatal error to ask that person for advice on how they should be addressed by the court.”
Later in the hearing, Peterson told Burmila he wanted more time to consider the allegations.
Gonzalez said Peterson changed his mind about her representation in front of the judge, and that he told her earlier Friday morning that he wanted her and Carroll to represent him and go forward with the motion.
“He seems to have a loyalty” to Brodsky, Gonzalez said. “He was concerned about Mr. Brodsky’s reputation if the motion goes through.
“Brodsky doesn’t seem to be concerned about anyone but himself.”
On Friday, Brodsky accused Carroll of writing the motion “from reading a few newspaper articles and adding a little bit of his fantasy to it.” Brodsky also said he was planning to file a complaint against Carroll with the state’s Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission.
But Gonzalez said she and Carroll expect Peterson will eventually want to proceed with their motion for a new trial, and that they will handle the motion as his attorneys.
Burmila set a hearing for Oct. 30 to discuss the issues in that motion.
On Thursday, Brodsky blasted Carroll in a motion to throw out Carroll’s motion, contending Carroll is trying to improperly push his way into Peterson’s notorious case by claiming Peterson’s legal team bungled his defense.
Carroll and Gonzalez’s motion also includes a scathing 15-page letter attorney Steve Greenberg sent Brodsky after Peterson “fired” Greenberg from his defense team.
Peterson decided to keep Greenberg on the team, despite a letter he wrote saying he wanted him fired. Greenberg had filed a motion to withdraw from the case, and Peterson on Friday asked Burmila to deny Greenberg’s request.
Brodsky recently filed a motion asking Burmila to make an immediate ruling on Greenberg’s motion to withdraw, and asked the judge to do it quietly and without fanfare, which drew Burmila’s wrath.
“For you, of all people, to say that the court should do something to avoid fanfare is unconscionable,” Burmila told Brodsky. “I’m telling you — we’re not having colloquy — don’t do that again.”
Outside the courthouse, Brodsky said he never thought Peterson would fire him.
“There’s not a chance in the world that I would be out of this case,” Brodsky said. “I’m sure this is an issue that’s going to go away.”
Also Friday, Burmila set a hearing on the motion for a new trial for Dec. 19, and pushed Peterson’s sentencing hearing back to Jan. 10.