Escalating Defense

 

As Scott Peterson counts down the days to next month's preliminary hearing, ABCNEWS has obtained new details on his defense team's strategy and what's behind its so-called satanic cult theory.

The details stem from a Modesto police report that outlines a conversation that took place between a rape counselor and police.

The report reveals that a rape crisis counselor told investigators about a woman who said she was attacked in the area a week before the young pregnant woman went missing.

The counselor told police of the victim just days after Laci Peterson disappeared on Christmas Eve.

Another Woman Attacked?

The counselor told police the woman she helped said she had been attacked on Dec. 18, by men carrying out some sort of ritual. The rape counselor said the woman explained that the man had bragged they would murder someone on Christmas Day.

Police have not commented on how they followed up on the tip. In the end, however, police rejected any connection between the attack and Laci Peterson's disappearance.

It is not known if the counselor would cooperate with the defense, but Peterson's team could still try to introduce the counselor's conversation with police.

Peterson's attorney, Mark Geragos, has suggested that members of a satanic cult were the killers. He has also hinted that a female mystery witness could lead authorities to the real killer and free his client.

DA Should Be Dismissed?

Peterson's lawyers are working to get ahead on other angles of the case as well.

In their latest motion, Peterson's lawyers are seeking to disqualify the entire Modesto district attorney's office. Geragos says they eavesdropped illegally on Peterson's calls with his lawyer.

In a motion filed with the judge in the case, Geragos also urged that evidence obtained through wiretaps on Peterson's phones be suppressed and that defense attorneys be allowed to question Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office investigators.

Geragos also suggested in the motion that the "grave prosecutorial misconduct" of intercepting privileged communications between a defendant and his attorneys could be grounds for dismissing the charges.

"The United States Supreme Court and the courts of California have frowned on the type of grave prosecutorial misconduct that has occurred herein," Geragos said in the court filing.

"Specifically, the United States Supreme Court has recognized that in cases of egregious prosecutorial misconduct resulting in prejudice to a criminal defendant, dismissal of a case with prejudice is appropriate," he said.

Ready for War

ABCNEWS Legal Consultant Kimberly Guilfoyle-Newsom says Peterson's defense team has demonstrated that it's ready for a knock-down, drag-out fight.

"I think it's a smart and bold move on behalf of Mark Geragos and Peterson's defense team," Guilfoyle-Newsom said. "In fact Mark Geragos stated to the prosecution last week that 'if you want a war you've got it,' and I think that's what we're seeing," she said.

Yet another element of the defense strategy involves the Peterson home. His attorneys have taken pictures of baby Conner's nursery to show Peterson helped decorate and paint it. The room has a nautical theme with blue walls and a life preserver stenciled with the word "welcome."

The defense team hopes the pictures will build Peterson's image as a caring father and break down the case against him.

Peterson, 30, is accused of killing his wife, Laci, and their unborn son. Their bodies washed up on a beach in the San Francisco Bay in April. The fertilizer salesman maintains his innocence, but could face the death penalty if convicted at trial. 
 

ABCNEWS' Taina Hernandez reported this story on Good Morning America.