Turning the Tide?
Dramatic stuff—and just what the prosecution needed. During a tense four days on the stand, Brocchini suffered a pummeling by defense attorney Mark Geragos, who sought to depict him and his fellow investigators as bunglers who had prejudged Scott as guilty (see box). Brocchini's account of the tip, however—which he said he did not pursue because he didn't find it "credible"—helped demonstrate that he hadn't pounced on all evidence pointing toward Peterson. "This is obviously a strong point for the prosecution, and it is very emotional, but they need to bring the man who said this into the courtroom," says former prosecutor Michael Cardoza. "This whole thing suggests to me that the prosecution is feeling the sting of the defense and is now desperate and they are throwing stuff against the wall to see if any of it sticks."
Prosecutor Rick Distaso's case could get more of a jolt if and when the jurors learn details of a discovery made by the first investigators on the scene at the Peterson home and documented by them in one of several just-published photos. In addition to the poignant pictures of the table set by Laci for the Christmas meal that never took place, there's what maybe the money shot: a copy of the Yellow Pages on the kitchen counter. It's open to an ad for Richard S. Herman, a criminal defense lawyer. But, notes Herman: "It's a full-page ad with a cardboard insert. The ad is designed so that if the book is opened casually, it should fall to my page. It's a brilliant piece of advertising."