Peterson Trial Moves Near San Francisco

01/21/2004 AT 01:00 PM EST

Scott Peterson's double-murder case is moving north: A judge on Tuesday called for the high-profile trial be shifted 90 miles away, to a suburb of San Francisco, where the former fertilizer salesman will be tried for the murder of his pregnant wife Laci and their unborn son, reports Reuters.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami ordered the trial -- which is officially due to kick off with jury selection on Monday -- moved from Modesto, Laci's hometown, to San Mateo County (between San Francisco and San Jose) because of the intense publicity that has already been generated and the spotlight that has been thrown on the 31-year-old Peterson.

Peterson's lawyer, Mark Geragos, who also is currently defending Michael Jackson against multiple charges of child molestation, had asked the court to move the trial to another part of the state because people living in and near Modesto had what he called a "lynch-mob mentality" whipped up by negative press coverage.

Geragos wanted the trial moved far south, to Orange County near Los Angeles, saying in part that because Scott's parents had spent more than a million dollars to defend their son, they should have a say in the venue.

Judge Girolami, however, said, "I'm satisfied we can get a fair and impartial jury in San Mateo," according to reports.

At a press conference Tuesday, San Mateo County officials said they are prepared for the legal spectacle, which is to be held in a 150-seat courtroom. The court also has plans to set up a dedicated Web site for Scott Peterson court case information.

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