08/05/2004 at 02:05 PM EDT
Jurors in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial on Thursday morning were dismissed until Tuesday so that both sides can examine newly discovered evidence that defense attorney Mark Geragos claims could be "exculpatory" – reason enough to acquit his client.
Judge Alfred Delucchi did not reveal the nature of the newly found evidence but said that it needed to be tested scientifically. Geragos told reporters that prosecutors released the new evidence "reluctantly."
Michael Cardoza, a former Alameda prosecutor observing the trial, speculated that the evidence could be a re-examination of Laci's body and/or her son's body, based on his conversations with the lawyers after Thursday's session.
"This is big," he said, adding that it's rare for a judge to halt a murder trial to examine new evidence.
Meanwhile, Amber Frey, the mistress of Scott Peterson, is still expected to testify in the case on Tuesday, and though it's not clear whether Thursday's development will have any impact.
"I have no idea how this will affect Amber's testimony," Frey's lawyer, Gloria Allred, told PEOPLE.
Prosecutors maintain that Scott Peterson, 31, killed his pregnant wife Laci in their Modesto, Calif., home on Christmas Eve 2002 and dumped her body into San Francisco Bay. He has pleaded not guilty.