Trials & Litigation

Lead Drew Peterson Lawyer Seeks Court Nix re 'Completely Unauthorized' Motion, Contempt for Filers

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In the latest salvo in a bizarre battle to determine which attorneys represent the recently convicted defendant in a high-profile murder trial, the lead defense counsel for Drew Peterson on Thursday asked a suburban Chicago judge to strike a post-trial motion filed by two other lawyers who hitherto have not been involved in the criminal case.

In his motion to strike (PDF) the “totally and completely unauthorized” filing by John Paul Carroll and Michelle Gonzalez, lead lawyer Joel Brodsky also asked a Will County Circuit Court judge to hold the two attorneys in criminal contempt. Although he is counsel of record, Brodsky writes, he was not served with the motion for a new trial the two attorneys filed this week on Peterson’s behalf and first saw it after it was published in the Chicago Tribune, even though the document had at that point been impounded by the court.

His motion additionally seeks the appointment of a special prosecutor to convene a grand jury to determine how sealed court documents allegedly have been leaked several times to a Tribune reporter.

Although Brodsky contends that the two competitor attorneys were brought in only to advise Peterson, a former suburban police sergeant, about his pension, Carroll tells the Chicago Sun-Times that they were indeed authorized by Peterson to represent him in his criminal case.

However, Carroll insisted to the Sun-Times that he and his co-counsel have been brought in by Drew Peterson and spoke with him as recently as Thursday. He said he believes a judge could clarify the situation at a Friday hearing: “I think there’s a possibility the judge will tell Mr. Brodsky he’s out,” Carroll told the newspaper. He acknowledged urging Peterson to dump Brodsky as his defense counsel, but said he had nothing to do with providing any sealed filings to the media.

Now convicted of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, Peterson has also made headlines in connection with the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. After Stacy Peterson went missing, authorities reinvestigated Savio’s death, which was initially determined to have been accidental, and pursued it as a homicide.

Additional coverage: “Outside Lawyer Files Motion for New Murder Trial for Drew Peterson; Lead Counsel Calls It ‘Insanity’”

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