Drew Peterson’s lawyers battle one another
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter September 24, 2012 9:48PM
Joel Brodsky, (left) defense attorney for former Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson, speaks outside the Will County Courthouse. File Photo. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Updated: October 26, 2012 2:25PM
Drew Peterson’s fired former attorney is publicly accusing one-time co-counsel Joel Brodsky of “single-handedly” losing Peterson’s just-completed murder trial.
In a blistering 15-page letter released Monday, attorney Steve Greenberg also threatened to sue Brodsky for “scandalous, contemptible and repulsive” comments he allegedly made after Greenberg was unceremoniously dumped from Peterson’s defense team.
Peterson, who remains jailed while awaited sentencing, weighed in Monday by asking the agency that disciplines lawyers to investigate Greenberg’s conduct during and after the trial.
In a letter shown to the Chicago Sun-Times, Peterson contends Greenberg mishandled his part of the defense and then rips him for attending a post-trial event for Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.
The volleys on Monday marked an escalating battle between the two attorneys that began — publicly at least — shortly after Peterson was convicted Sept. 6 of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
In his letter, Greenbergblames Brodsky for the outcome, saying he made “one of the greatest mistakes in the history of jurisprudence” by calling divorce attorney Harry Smith to testify as a defense witness for Peterson.
Smith instead offered dramatic testimony that Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, claimed he had killed Savio.
“Not only is it evident that calling Harry Smith to the stand was suicidal to the defense, but also your horrific questioning made it worse,” Greenberg wrote in the letter to Brodsky. “Take credit, for you single-handedly may have put Drew away for the rest of his life.”
Several jurors said after their Sept. 6 guilty verdict that Smith’s statements convinced them to convict Peterson of drowning Savio in 2004.
Greenberg demanded a “public apology” within 24 hours and retraction of comments Brodsky allegedly made to the media after Greenberg was fired by Peterson after his conviction.
Greenberg contended Brodsky tried to shift blame to him for questionable trial strategies, including calling Smith as a witness.
“Now, tellingly, rather than accept any of the responsibility for what was one of the greatest mistakes in the history of jurisprudence, you are trying to make me the fall guy,” Greenberg wrote.
Brodsky declined to comment specifically on Greenberg’s claims Monday, and he wouldn’t say whether he planned to apologize to his former colleague.
“I am working and fighting for all my clients, including Drew Peterson,” Brodsky said, reading a prepared statement. “I am focused on Mr. Peterson’s appeal and getting the guilty verdict reversed. That is all that is important, the client’s best interest must come first.”
Brodsky had more to say on Sept. 11 after Peterson fired Greenberg from the six-attorney defense team.
In a public statement then, Brodsky said Greenberg didn’t properly question witnesses and wasn’t prepared for some court sessions because he spent too much time “hanging out in the press room.”
“Mr. Greenberg was let go because of his failure to accomplish most of the tasks he brought on board to take care of,” Brodsky said in his earlier statement.
He claimed then that Greenberg “did not object” to calling Smith as a defense witness.
Greenberg, in fact, publicly defended the decision after Smith testified, though he said Monday he did so “because that was in the client’s best interest.”
In a second statement Monday, Greenberg claimed that Brodsky was trying to “throw me under the bus rather than accepting responsibility for his own actions.”
“I will not allow him to make me his fall guy. Nor will I allow him to attack my family,” Greenberg wrote.
Brodsky made “vile and disgusting” comments about Greenberg’s family and his pending divorce during the trial, Greenberg contended, noting two of his children assisted as volunteers in the case.
Greenberg also blasted Brodsky, saying he leaked information to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed in an attempt to “garner sympathy for Drew.”
In his letter, Peterson accused Greenberg of criticizing the decision to call Smith simply as an excuse to get more publicity for himself.
He chastised Greenberg, an attorney since 1986, for attending a Sept. 19 event for Glasgow, who is running for re-election as the county’s top prosecutor. Glasgow personally led the team that prosecuted Peterson.
That appearance, Peterson wrote, “can only project to the public that Mr. Greenberg is in favor of my conviction and approving of everything the state’s attorney has done to convict me.”
In his letter to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Peterson asks the agency to investigate Greenberg’s actions.
An attorney for the commission wouldn’t comment on whether Peterson had asked for an investigation.
Peterson faces a maximum 60-year prison term when he is sentenced on Nov. 26.