Wherein It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Drew Peterson’s attorney Joel Brodsky was questioned today in the evidentiary hearing connected to Peterson’s motion for a new trial. I didn’t think it was possible for Brodsky’s conduct to get more questionable.

I was wrong.

For example:

Brodsky testified this afternoon that he entered into a yearlong contract with a publicist in 2007 and said he was paid money by ABC television. Brodsky’s former legal partner testified this morning that Brodsky often focused on the financial benefit of representing Peterson, and a law professor testified today that Brodsky’s contract with a publicity firm violated the professional code of conduct for attorneys.

This is a big no-no and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct leave no room for debate on the point. Rule 1.8(d) dictates that, “[p]rior to the conclusion of representation of a client, a lawyer shall not make or negotiate an agreement giving the lawyer literary or media rights to a portrayal or account based in substantial part on information relating to the representation.” The comments to these rules illustrates why this is a problem. There, the drafters note that contracting for media rights creates a conflict of interest between the client’s best interest and the personal best interest of the lawyer. How, you ask? Well, because, “[m]easures suitable in the representation of the client may detract from the publication value of an account of the representation.” See R. 1.8(d) cmt. [9]. Put simply, then, Joel Brodsky violated the Rules of Professional Conduct.

This madness is of course in addition to the utterly insane decision to call a witness—a divorce lawyer—who introduced hearsay causing jurors to find Peterson guilty. I’ve already written on the stupidity of that decision here.

Oh but we’re not done yet!

Another member of the defense team, Reem Odeh, testified that Brodsky had allegedly threatened her and tried to intimidate her prior to her testimony this morning. Incidentally, she was testifying to the fact that Brodsky had frequently noted “how he thought the Peterson case would benefit himself and the firm.”

I’m done assuming that things can’t get any weirder or more disheartening about this case. With another day of testimony scheduled for tomorrow, who really knows how far down this rabbit hole goes?

-Zachary Cloud

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