Peterson defense cross-examines mistress
By Brian Skoloff,
Associated Press Writer | August 23, 2004
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Scott Peterson's lawyers sought Monday to portray his former mistress Amber Frey as a calculated seductress and liar who was more obsessed with him than he was with her.
Under defense questioning, Frey insisted she taped and turned over to police all telephone calls she had with Peterson after being prompted to do so by authorities investigating the disappearance of Peterson's pregnant wife, Laci.
Last week, jurors heard 40 wiretapped calls between Frey and Peterson during which he was apologetic for lying to her about being married but evasive in his answers about his wife's disappearance and the couple's relationship. He continued to romance Frey even as police searched for his missing wife.
But during cross-examination Monday, defense attorney Mark Geragos prodded Frey about the taped calls, implying she did not fully cooperate with police.
According to police reports, authorities were suspicious that Frey may not have been taping all of her calls with Peterson or may have neglected to turn over some tapes, Geragos noted.
Frey maintained she cooperated fully.
"I recorded all conversations," she said.
"Did you ever not turn over tapes?" Geragos asked.
"I turned over every tape that I recorded," Frey replied.
"Did you ever make or receive calls from Scott Peterson that you didn't immediately tell detectives about?" Geragos prodded.
"No," Frey said.
"At any point did you hide any information ... from the Modesto Police Department?" Geragos again asked.
"No," Frey said, answering questions in an even-toned voice directly to Geragos, never looking at Peterson or the jury.
It appeared Geragos was preparing to try to prove that Frey spoke to Peterson without alerting authorities. She acknowledged she was unaware that police had also wiretapped Peterson's telephones.
Geragos also tried to downplay the prosecution theory that Peterson was obsessed with Frey, and that the affair was his motive for murder, portraying the relationship as one-night stands where Peterson could simply get sex.
Geragos noted that on Dec. 26, 2002, Frey called Peterson 14 times. She said she wanted to thank him for a Christmas gift.
Geragos later portrayed Frey as a calculating seductress who would try anything to trap Peterson into admitting he was involved in Laci's disappearance.
Frey testified she told police she had sex with Peterson at least three times.
"At that point you tell them you could basically use the ruse that you were pregnant and they could use that ... and see if that would elicit some information?" Geragos asked.
"That was the concept," Frey said. "At that point, I was willing or open to anything ... in assisting the police if that would help in any way."
Even so, Peterson never admitted involvement in the crime in the wiretaps that were played for jurors, even proclaiming his love for Laci.
"The idea was to try to get him to admit something, to admit some involvement, that he had something to do with Laci's disappearance?" Geragos asked.
"I questioned him many times in different ways, yes," Frey replied.
Frey is due back on the stand Tuesday.
The judge delayed Frey's cross-examination last week because of a "potential development." The details of the delay were not publicly revealed.
Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her weighted body from a boat into San Francisco Bay. The decomposed remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's fetus washed up in April 2003, not far from where Peterson said he launched a fishing trip the day he reported her missing.
His defense attorneys claim he was framed after the real killer learned of his widely publicized alibi.