The judge in the Drew Peterson murder trial came up with reasons to deny the press and public from seeing email exchanges between him and the attorneys on the case.
Judge Edward Burmila shared his thoughts on keeping the email conversations secret during a brief hearing Tuesday morning.
At least three media outlets—including Patch—have requested the email traded between Burmila, Peterson's attorneys and prosecutors. The requests were made under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Prior to Peterson's July murder trial, which ended in his conviction on Sept. 6, Judge Burmila instructed prosecutors and defense attorneys to hash out issues in the case via email. Burmila employed his email idea in hopes of speeding along the trial, which lasted more than a month.
The requests were made to the Will County State's Attorney's Office. Assistant State's Attorney Marie Czech appealed to Burmila on Tuesday for clarifcation on whether to provide the email to the press or to deny the requests.
Off the bat, Burmila said "98 percent" of the conversations should be off limits since they discuss legal matters filed under seal by court order. Burmila did not say how much longer those documents will remain under seal now that the trial is over.
Burmila said other email cannot be seen by the public because the conversations reference the October 2007 disappearance of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.
Stacy Peterson remains missing and no one has been charged in connection with her disappearance. Burmila said the mystery surrounding Stacy's whereabouts is an "ongoing criminal investigation," and any email messages touching on the situation are confidential.
"So those are out," the judge said.
Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky—the only member of the convicted wife-killer's dwindling defense team to show up for the hearing—voiced his opposition to releasing the email.
After the hearing, Brodsky slipped out a back door. A courthouse source said Brodsky admitted he was fleeing because he did not want to have to answer to the media.
Peterson faces sentencing for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, on Nov. 26.