Lawyer Wants Gag Order Lifted
Geragos Complains About Frey's Attorney
SACRAMENTO -- Scott Peterson's attorney filed papers Monday in a Modesto court to lift a gag order silencing lawyers, witnesses and investigators, saying it was unconstitutional and had already failed to muffle the lawyer representing his client's former mistress.Defense lawyer Mark Geragos asked that attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Amber Frey, the woman who had a romantic relationship with Peterson before his pregnant wife vanished, be found in contempt for violating the order.
Allred said she was not subject to the gag order issued Thursday in Stanislaus County Superior Court by Judge Al Girolami that was intended to prevent more leaks, speculation and rumors in the news media that could jeopardize Peterson's fair trial rights. She said Geragos was trying to silence her.
"In short, this tactic appears to try to deflect attention away from his client who is charged with a double homicide and put others on trial instead," Allred said. "This tactic may be a sign of desperation, an attempt to delay the judgment day for Mr. Peterson, but that day will come despite Mr. Geragos' desperation tactics."Meanwhile, NBC11's Karen Brown reported that a source said no traces of blood was found in the Peterson home in Modesto. Previously, it was believed that blood may have been found on the kitchen floor and on a mop.
Peterson, 30, faces the death penalty if convicted of the murders of his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son. The fertilizer salesman has pleaded innocent and Geragos said he is seeking the real killers.
The remains of the 27-year-old substitute teacher and her unborn son washed ashore in San Francisco Bay in April near where her husband said he was fishing on Christmas Eve when she disappeared.
The case has received worldwide attention and Girolami said "all of the rumors and gossip would be rehashed," making it impossible to find impartial jurors if he didn't rein in lawyers and others involved in the case from commenting in public.
At a hearing earlier this month, both Geragos and Allred opposed a gag order, arguing that it would prevent them from responding to attacks and misinformation that could harm their clients.
Geragos said the gag order was unconstitutional and had already failed to protect his client's fair trial rights.
The order bars potential witnesses, such as Frey, from commenting, but Allred said it does not apply to lawyers for witnesses. Allred said she would honor the spirit of the order, but Geragos said she violated the order five hours after it was issued by discussing his tactics on the Fox News Channel's "On the Record."
"Neither Mr. Peterson nor the prosecution has the ability to intelligently respond to the blatant misinformation being bandied about," Geragos wrote.
Allred said she only summarized a judge's ruling to unseal search warrants and was not making a judgment about the defense case.
In other court papers filed Monday, a summary of evidence obtained through a May 28 search warrant for cellular phone records was made public, but revealed very little about the case.
Investigator Steven Jacobson said he received records from several cellular phone companies. He also said he received a surveillance video.
Copyright 2003 by NBC11.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.