Drew Peterson files appeal, cites ineffective counsel

Tribune reporter

Drew Peterson began the uphill battle to overturn his murder conviction today, filing a motion for a new trial that could force his former lead attorney to testify about how he allegedly botched the case.

Peterson, 58, was convicted in September of drowning his third wife, Kathleen Savio, after some jurors said a witness called by lead defense attorney Joel Brodsky convinced them the former Bolingbrook police sergeant was guilty.

“I think we had a rogue defense attorney,” said Peterson attorney Steve Greenberg, who said he “vehemently objected” to Brodsky’s decision to call the witness, Savio’s divorce attorney Harry Smith.

Brodsky was pressured to withdraw from the case last month in the midst of infighting within the defense team. He was replaced by David Peilet.

In a post-trial motion filed this morning, Peterson’s defense attorneys asked Judge Edward Burmila to take the highly unusual step of either overturning the jury’s guilty verdict or granting Peterson a new trial.

They cited numerous reasons ranging from the admission of hearsay statements to mistakes they allege Burmila made in allowing evidence to be heard, but much of the focus was on Brodsky’s alleged deficient performance at trial.

Peterson’s attorneys plan to file a separate motion just on that issue.

But in the newly filed motion, they allege Brodsky had a financial interest in drawing as much publicity as possible to Peterson’s case.

The motion includes a contract Peterson and Brodsky signed with Glen Selig, a publicist who also worked for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“(Brodsky) allowed his own self-interest to pollute how the matter was handled from the pre-trial media blitz to the trial itself,” the motion says.
Brodsky said in an email that the contract in question expired in 2008 and didn’t give him “any interest in any litigation or money which was to be earned by Mr. Peterson.”

Brodsky declined to explain or comment further.


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