Updated: December 3, 2012 6:43AM
The latest episode in the unending soap opera that is the life of Drew Peterson was a stunner, as his longtime attorney, Joel Brodsky, withdrew this week from the case.
Brodsky, who has represented Peterson since shortly after the sensational disappearance of his fourth wife in October 2007, said the move was in his client’s best interests. We agree.
Brodsky said it was his call to leave, that he wasn’t fired by the former Bolingbrook police sergeant, and Peterson’s new attorneys publicly agreed. But it’s hard to believe that the pugnacious Brodsky, who has taken no prisoners since Day 1 with Peterson, would depart willingly.
He has come under heavy fire in recent weeks after committing a major blunder during Peterson’s murder trial, one that jurors cited as a key reason they convicted Peterson of killing his third wife in 2004. Brodsky then got into an unseemly public feud with another member of the defense team, trading accusations and personal insults, before at least outwardly patching things up.
That was followed by a bizarre development in which a lawyer supposedly joined the defense to help with Peterson’s appeal, filing a motion for a new trial and alleging that Brodsky had provided ineffective counsel for his client.
At a court hearing, Peterson denied hiring the lawyer and said he did not believe Brodsky had bungled, but at the judge’s urging he agreed to meet with his other lawyers to discuss the allegations against Brodsky. Next thing you know, Brodsky’s out.
From the outset, Peterson and Brodsky, previously a little-known lawyer, were an outrageous but entertaining pair. Their cocky and wisecracking personalities were a match as they joked their way through many media appearances, seeming to take the serious charges lightly — even as Peterson was arrested and jailed in 2009.
It has ended badly for both — the 58-year-old Peterson facing, in effect, a life sentence and Brodsky’s legal reputation damaged by the swirl of controversy around him. They brought it on themselves.