Drew Peterson: Ex-attorney Brodsky meets with Stacy's sister

During a courtroom break this afternoon, Drew Peterson’s former lead attorney Joel Brodsky chatted in the hallway with the sister of Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy.

Stacy’s sister Cassandra Cales wouldn’t discuss the content of the roughly five-minute conversation, but Brodsky said, "We were just discussing how to make sure that her sister Stacy isn't forgotten after Drew goes away."

Peterson is the sole suspect in Stacy’s 2007 disappearance, but he has not been charged. Prosecutors have said they believe Peterson killed Stacy and plan to review the case and whether to bring charges.

Attorneys continued to argue this afternoon about whether Peterson should get a new trial after his murder conviction last fall in the drowning of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

If the judge does not grant a new trial, sentencing would come next for Peterson. Attorneys indicated that the sentencing hearing, if it happens, likely would be Thursday. Peterson, 59, faces 20-60 years in prison.
In arguing for a new trial, the defense said hearsay evidence and certain witnesses should never have been allowed at trial. Attorneys then turned to their argument that Brodsky's decision to call divorce attorney Harry Smith to testify scuttled Peterson's chance at a fair trial.
Smith testified at the murder trial last year that he had a phone conversation with  Stacy about whether she could use knowledge about Savio’s death in a potential divorce proceeding against Peterson. Some jurors have said Smith’s testimony convinced them Peterson was guilty.

"It was an awful decision,” defense attorney Steve Greenberg said in court. “It ruined the case -- we brought out the worst possible evidence, and the best evidence for the state."

Greenberg said Judge Edward Burmila has the opportunity to undo the problems caused by Brodsky's insistence on calling Smith to the stand.

“We have to give the courts a chance to correct errors that were made during a trial, and that’s what we’re doing here today," Greenberg told Burmila. "Ultimately, if you boil it down, Harry Smith's testimony was probably the most incriminating piece of evidence against Mr. Peterson, and it was brought out by the defense. There could be no reasonable trial strategy."

"Whatever kernel of impeachment Mr. Brodsky thought he was going to get out of it paled in comparison to the mountain of damage that it brought out," Greenberg said. "It was awful strategy,  and that strategy alone means Mr. Peterson should get a new trial from this court.”

Burmila asked if Peterson didn't bear some responsibility for listening to Brodsky over the objections of his other attorneys.

But Greenberg said a client doesn't get a say in trial strategy, and said that while Brodsky was wise to bring in experienced criminal attorneys, he never listened to them.

“It was a dictatorship," Greenberg said.

In the overflow room across the hall where media members and other court observers were listening to the proceedings in the courtroom, Brodsky groaned at every accusation.

"I'm a dictator," he said, shaking his head. "Unbelievable."

Earlier this afternoon, Peterson’s attorneys asked Burmila to throw out the jury’s guilty verdict and acquit their client of murder.

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