Drew Peterson back in court amid lawyers’ feud
BY JON SEIDEL Sun-Times Media firstname.lastname@example.org September 25, 2012 1:12PM
The Drew Peterson defense team is shown in happier times. Attorneys Joel Brodsky (from left to right), Steven Greenberg and Darryl Goldberg walk outside the Will County Courthouse after court ended for the day in the Peterson murder trial on Aug. 21. | Ma
Updated: September 25, 2012 4:12PM
A day after his legal team’s bitter feud spilled back into the news, Drew Peterson returned to the Joliet courtroom of Will County Judge Edward Burmila.
The former Bolingbrook cop, who looked dapper in a suit and tie during his murder trial, instead wore blue scrubs from the Will County Jail Tuesday. And though onlookers fought over seats to see Peterson this summer — and even though the judge has returned to the 20-seat courtroom he left to preside over the case — there was plenty of open seating this time.
Peterson watched from the defense table as attorney Joel Brodsky asked for more time to file motions ahead of Peterson’s sentencing for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Brodsky told the judge “new issues have come up” and among them are “issues with appellate counsel.”
“We want to make sure we do a sufficient job on it,” Brodsky said.
The judge told Brodsky to make his request in writing and scheduled another hearing for Oct. 18. Brodsky, who spoke in front of TV cameras several times a day during Peterson’s six-week trial, apparently used the courthouse’s back hallway to slip away from reporters when Tuesday’s hearing ended.
Steve Greenberg, who was fired from the defense team after Peterson was found guilty Sept. 6 of Savio’s murder, accused Brodsky of “single-handedly” losing the trial in a 15-page letter released Monday. He also threatened to sue Brodsky for “scandalous, contemptible and repulsive” comments he allegedly made after Peterson dismissed him.
Peterson, meanwhile, has asked the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to investigate Greenberg’s behavior. Brodsky declined to comment specifically on Greenberg’s claims Monday.
“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.”
Darryl Goldberg, another member of the defense team, also withdrew from the case this week.
Reached later Tuesday, Brodsky denied his feud with Greenberg is the reason he needs more time to file motions on Peterson’s behalf. He pointed instead to delays in getting trial transcripts together, among other issues. He said Goldberg withdrew from the case because he was hired only to litigate the medical and forensic issues at trial. That work, Brodsky said, is done.
Though Brodsky used Tuesday’s hearing to make his request for more time, the court appearance was apparently prompted by public record requests received by the Will County state’s attorney’s office. The requests from multiple media organizations, including Sun-Times Media, seek copies of email correspondence between the judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers involved in Peterson’s trial.
Prosecutors wanted to clarify whether the emails had been sealed. Burmila said he never issued an order to seal them, but he pointed out they contain conversations about sealed motions and mentions of the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, that shouldn’t be disclosed.
Burmila didn’t say conclusively if the emails will be released, but a prosecutor said the judge’s comments were “helpful in itself.” The state’s attorney’s office asked last week for more time to consider the request but has issued no other formal response.
Peterson faces as many as 60 years in prison when he is sentenced for Savio’s murder. His sentencing hearing remains scheduled for Nov. 26.