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Lawyers tangle at Peterson hearing

Feb. 19, 2013 at 5:52 PM

JOLIET, Ill., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Ex-policeman Drew Peterson's request for a new trial in the death of his third wife began Tuesday in Joliet, Ill., with a claim his lawyer botched his case.

Peterson is arguing he deserves a new trial because his former lawyer, Joel Brodsky, mishandled his defense against charges he drowned Kathleen Savio in 2004, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Attorneys will also argue over dismissal of a wrongful death suit filed by Savio's family, but in Tuesday's hearing, Peterson's new legal team underscored their claim of Brodsky's mishandling of the case by putting Reem Odeh, a former law partner of Brodsky's on the stand.

Odeh said Brodsky talked with her, on "many occasions." about potential money their firm could make with Peterson as a client, and testified Brodsky physically attacked her to stop her from taking a copy of an agreement with a publicist, after the law firm split up.

Brodsky denied each of her accusations.

Law professor Clifford Scott-Rudnick was then called to the stand, who said Brodsky violated ethical standards by signing a contact with a publicist and, in essence, becoming Peterson's business partner, an action Scott-Rudnick called "over the line."

Prosecutors contend Peterson received a fair trial and say alleged violations of professional responsibility by Brodsky do not indicate Peterson had ineffective counsel, the newspaper said.

If Judge Edward Burmila denies Peterson's motion for a new trial, a sentencing hearing could begin. Peterson faces up to 60 years in prison.

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