Peterson Attorney Says Evidence Withheld
POOL-Bart Ah You/ZUMA
Scott Peterson's attorney Mark Geragos claims in a motion filed Monday that until last week prosecutors withheld evidence that could clear his client, who stands accused of the double murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son.
A former sworn peace officer claims he witnessed "at least two men" pull Laci into a van, and prosecutors – who focused their entire investigation on Scott Peterson, 31, Geragos claims – failed to interview him until last week, the Associated Press reports.
Laci Peterson vanished on Dec. 24, 2002. Her body and that of her fetus were recovered in April 2003 near where her husband said he had been fishing the day of her disappearance.
In the motion, Geragos alleges that the prosecution has been aware of the unidentified witness since December 2002 but didn't interview him until just last week – only days before the start of the trial.
Jury selection in the case is due to end Thursday, with opening statements scheduled for next Monday.
In the defense motion, Geragos writes: "The witness confirmed his sighting of a woman he identified as Laci and her two abductors. However, the Modesto Police Department chose to ignore this former peace officer's report presumably because 'it was not going in the right direction.' This ... clearly establishes that the prosecution's conduct was undertaken in bad faith."
Prosecutors could not be reached for comment Monday night. The lawyers in the death penalty case are subject to a gag order issued by the court.