Maybe hiring a publicist to fish for TV and book deals when you're suspected of killing your last two wives wasn't such a great idea after all.
The six lawyers representing convicted wife-killer Drew Peterson don't think so, and they filed court papers Friday criticizing former co-counsel Joel Brodsky for doing just that.
- Court Supervision: Look What Happened at the Courthouse This Week
"Attorney Brodsky was operating under a conflict of interest," according to the latest motion filed in the Peterson case.
Not only that, the post-trial motion accuses Brodsky of violating a rule of professional conduct by partnering with a client in a business deal.
Brodsky and Peterson entered into the contract, a copy of which was attached to the motion filed Friday, with Florida publicist Glenn Selig.
The contract, which Peterson and Brodsky signed less than two months after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, mysteriously vanished, calls for Selig to be paid for "soliciting, procuring and/or negotiating" all manner of media appearances.
Peterson and Brodsky apparently were hoping to be hired for "product endorsement (including commercials), photo opportunities and/or interviews for Peterson and/or Brodsky on television shows, news related television shows, talk shows, panel shows, reality shows and/or any other live or tape appearances, and/or in magazines, newspapers and/or tabloids" and possibly "book deals" for both of them.
Brodsky has said he hoped to use the Peterson case as a springboard to a job on a cable news show. That didn't happen.
Brodsky "breached his duty of loyalty to the client, operating at best under a concurrent duty to himself," the motion says. "He allowed his own self-interest to pollute how the matter was handled, from the pretrial media blitz to the trial itself."
Peterson's legal team moved on without Brodsky last month. A teary eyed Brodsky claimed he left the case of his own volition. He also insisted he had not been crying.
Brodsky failed to return calls for comment Friday. A message left with a receptionist in Selig's office said he was unavailable to discuss the allegations but said she would pass along a message. Selig failed to call back.
The allegations about Brodsky's handling of Peterson's publicity comprised four points of the 35-point motion. The document argues that Peterson did not get a fair trial when he was convicted of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Savio was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004. The Illinois State Police quickly dismissed her death as nothing more than a fatal freak accident. But when Stacy vanished in October 2007, the state cops were forced to reassess the case.
Peterson was charged with Savio's murder in May 2009. Soon after Stacy disappeared, a state police captain declared her case was considered "potential homicide." He named Peterson the sole suspect in the criminal investigation.
Peterson has never been charged with harming Stacy, but the police probe has continued over the years, as evidenced by a recent week-long search for the missing mother in Shorewood's Hammel Woods.
Peterson attorneys David Peilet and Steve Greenberg said even more motions calling for Peterson to get a new trial will be coming. Judge Edward Burmila wants them filed by the end of the day Dec. 14. Burmila gave prosecutors until Jan. 9 to respond, and set a date to schedule a possible evidentiary hearing on Jan. 10.
Peterson was supposed to be sentenced anywhere from 20 to 60 years in prison on Jan. 10, but no new sentencing date was set.
Greenberg, who previously blamed Brodsky for blowing the case, said on Friday that there are a "smorgasbord of issues" to get Peterson a new trial.
"It's like one of those closets where you open the closet to take out one thing, and everything falls out," Greenberg said.