Drew Peterson lawyer silenced after threats to reveal information


(NewsNation) — In an update to one of the nation’s most infamous unsolved cases, a judge issued a gag order Thursday, silencing the former attorney of convicted killer Drew Peterson after he said “maybe it’s time” to reveal details from the case.

“It’s something that weighs on my conscience,” former attorney Joel Brodsky told NewsNation’s WGN-TV in Chicago. “I would never do anything that would hurt a former client, but he’s in prison, he’s never getting out.  So, if he’s a man, he’d say ‘I’m done, here’s what happened,’ so people can have closure.” 

According to “WGN Investigates,” Will County Judge Ed Burmila issued the order, saying never in his 40 years in law has he seen an attorney threaten to betray his client’s trust in such a bold way.

“This may be the most vile crime in the U.S. but (defendants) still have a right to speak in confidence with their attorney,” Burmila said in court.

Brodsky said he considers the judge’s gag order a violation of his First Amendment rights, according to WGN, and he interrupted the hearing several times to make his arguments.

At one point, Burmila threatened to have Brodsky removed from the courtroom if he continued to interject.

Legal experts said it’s almost unheard of for a lawyer to betray their client’s trust in such a bold fashion.

“I think it’s despicable,” former appellate judge David Erickson of Chicago-Kent College of Law told WGN. “To break that breaks the very trust that this entire system of law should be based upon.” 

Peterson, a former police sergeant from the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, is serving a 38-year prison sentence in the 2004 killing of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

FILE – In this May 8, 2009, file photo, former Bolingbrook, Ill., police Sgt. Drew Peterson leaves the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, Ill., after his arraignment on charges of first-degree murder in the 2004 death of his former wife Kathleen Savio. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Savio’s body was found in a dry bathtub in 2004, weeks before a scheduled hearing to determine money and child custody issues related to her divorce from Peterson. Her death was initially ruled an accident, but her remains were exhumed after the 2007 disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy. Savio’s death was subsequently ruled a homicide.

Stacy Peterson is presumed dead. Her family and the police suspect foul play, although her body has never been found. Peterson is a suspect in her disappearance but has never been charged.

Brodsky said details from Peterson’s case are weighing on his conscience.

“I know everything about both of his wives – everything,” Brodsky said on NewsNation’s “Banfield.” “I feel bad about Drew still not taking responsibility and Stacy still being missing.  I’m thinking about maybe revealing what happened to Stacy and where she is.”  

WGN’s Ben Bradley said Brodsky told him that he could easily point police to where Stacy Peterson’s body is in what began as a routine interview between the pair.

“I was surprised when, in the middle of what was a routine interview over his frustration over the intersection of power and politics in Chicago and how the politicians play an outsized role in appointing judges, he said, ‘You know, I’m so frustrated, and I may never practice law again,’” Bradley recalled Brodksy saying. “‘So I may just spill this secret. It’s been weighing on my conscience.’”

Peterson’s case took the country by storm. Most recently, Peterson was sentenced to an additional 40 years for plotting to kill the prosecutor who put him behind bars.

“You couldn’t be a reporter in Chicago 15 years ago without getting sucked into, unfortunately, the carnival that Stacy Peterson’s disappearance became,” Bradley said to NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert.

Peterson is attempting to overturn his sentence. The case was set to be heard Wednesday but was postponed to a later date.

NewsNation affiliate WGN contributed to this report.

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