02/28/2008 (www.nbc5.com) NBC TODAY SHOW

“Matt Lauer Interviews Drew Peterson”


Transcribed by “Snicker”

02/28/08 Today Show Interview of Drew Peterson: 1st half

MATT LAUER: We have Drew Peterson, and as we've said before, he's been under tough scrutiny. Drew Peterson is with us this morning along with his attorney Joel Brodsky. Gentlemen, good morning to both of you.

DREW PETERSON: Good morning.

ML: So since you were here three months ago when Stacy was missing for one month, now she hasn't been seen of or heard from in four months and now this big development, Drew, was this issue of a coroner's report after an autopsy rules that your third wife Kathleen Savio died not of an accident, but of homocide. Considering that you were already under the magnifying glass, how did you greet that news?

DP: It was kind of shocking. Uh, we uh have believed for the last four years, uh, that her death was accidental. Then, all of a sudden, and that was with a fresh autopsy, now all of a sudden there's a new autopsy and, uh, an old body, let's say, and that's been ruled a homocide. I'm kind of suspicious of it, you know.

ML: You don't believe that the coroner's report is accurate?

DP: I'm not sure. I think it needs to be scrutinized and looked at a little closer (nodding head).

ML: Basically what the coroner concluded was that Kathleen's death was caused by drowning, but it was made to look like an accident, but it was actually homocide. The reason that appears to be such a big problem for you is what Kathleen Savio told her sister Susan Doman. According to Susan Doman, who testified to the coroner's jury in this, that she feared you. She was terrified of you. She thought that she would die and that you would make it look like an accident. That sounds like an incredible coincidence.

DP: Sure.

ML: So how do you respond to that?

DP: How can I respond (with a little smirk on his face)? (DP shrugs and pauses and then looks to JB).

JOEL BRODSKY: Yeah, it's, it's, it's kind of a loaded question obviously (smiling).

ML: Yeah, but if a woman before her death tells someone very close to her that she could die and it could look like an accident by her husband and then four years later what was thought to be an accident turns out to be a homocide . . .

JB: Well, that's assuming the coroner's report is correct. We have two conflicting coroner's reports, only one of which has been released and the one that's been released is the one that says it's an accident. And so, you know, when you have conflicting reports, the idea is that you release both of them and then you get peer review by other pathologists and see why they are conflicting and we can't do that yet.

ML: I want to make sure I understand, because you have called into question this coroner's report and this autopsy. Are you curious, are you wondering if this coroner made a simple human mistake, or are you suggesting that this coroner released this erroneous report on purpose to help police bait you into saying or doing something dumb?

DP: I don't know. Anything's possible, so I really don't know how to respond to that.

ML: The last time you were here, Drew, you told me that the night Kathleen Savio's body was discovered you told me you were working the night shift.

DP: Right.

ML: And you were actually one of the first people in that room that discovered her body and helped pronounce her dead.

DP: I never pronounce her dead, but I . . .

ML: But you saw that she was dead.

DP: Correct, correct.

ML: But the report says, though, that Kathleen Savio had been dead for at least a day prior to her body being discovered. So we know where you were when her body was discovered, but where were you in the day before that when she wsa alledged to have actually died?

JB: Here, I've got to step in here. I obviously can't let Drew, who's . . . even though he's not a declared suspect, is, is, obviously being looked at in the Savio investigation, uh, talk about time lines.

ML: Can, can you tell me Mr. Brodsky has your client told you that he was in any contact with Kathleen Savio between 24 and 48, or even 36 hours prior to her body being discovered dead.

JB: No, he wasn't not in contact with her. We know that he had the children for visitation that weekend (DP nodding) so he had the children with him all weekend when he wasn't at work. But I can't let him go beyond that.

ML: People watching, Drew, are thinking one of two thing -- either you are experiencing the worst string of luck in the history of the world or you are involved in this deeper than you're letting on. Let me go through a couple of things, alright? Your second wife, Vicki Connelly told the Chicago Tribune when asked about your fourth wife Stacy's disappearance, she referring to you said, "He has the experience, the knowledge, the means, and the mind to do that." Your third wife Kathleen Savio dies of what looks like an accident -- turns out the coroner says no it was homocide. And as I said, she told her sister "this guy could kill me and make it look like an accident." And now your fourth wife Stacy disappears without a trace. She wrote an email to a friend before her disappearance saying "I'm finding that the relationship I am in is controlling, manipulative, and somewhat abusive. If you could keep me in your prayers, I could use some wisdom, protection, and strength." You're a cop, a former cop. If you were interrogating someone and had those pieces of evidence, would you think coincidence or would you think this guy was guilty of at least one murder?

DP: What would I think?

ML: Yeah, your gut. Common sense.

DP: I would have to evaluate the whole thing and I really can't even respond to that.

JB: And and I mean, there's certainly suspicion. Nobody's going to say it's not suspicious. Suspicious isn't guilt. Ah, suspicion is just that, something to look at.

ML: You've said that you think you're the suspect because you're the husband. So is that the only reason? Can you not think of anything you've done or said or anything in the relationship between you and Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson that might cause investigators and the police to think "we gotta watch out for that guy?"

02/28/08 Today Show Interview of Drew Peterson: 2nd half

DREW PETERSON: Well, all these things you just mentioned, sure.

MATT LAUER: What about the nature of the relationships, the controlling element? The fact that Kathleen Savio said she was terrified of you? And Stacy said she was worried about you?

DP shrugged.

ML: Was there cause for worry?

DP: No, not at all. I was just ah, I just controlled my family. I think more people in America should control their family.

ML: You still think Stacy, your wife, ran off with another man?

DP: It's all the information that I have and it's all that I can believe.

ML: You have, the last time you were here you told me that you have been telling your two children that Mom was on vacation -- now it's been four months.

DP: Right. The older two boys they know exactly what is going on.

ML: I'm talking about the younger two.

DP: The younger two, uh, I've consulted with a psychologist and they said that for children that age, it's age appropriate to say that to them.

ML: In your own heart, do you still think she's run off with another man, but have you allowed yourself to consider that, even if you have nothing to do with it, that she might well be the victim of foul play?

DP: Might every well be possible, yes.

ML: Because she disappeared . . .

DP: I simply don't know.

ML: You said, Mr. Brodsky, that it's easy for someone to disappear. Two people would have to have disappeared if she did indeed ran off with another man. Two people would have had to disappear for four months, not tap into their bank accounts, not use their credit cards, not buy an airline ticket, not be seen on surveillance cameras, and not (pointing at DP) as you've told me Stacy was a great mother, (DP nods) not even contact her kids.

DP: Right.

ML: It seems highly unlikely doesn't it?

DP: Yeah. Yeah.

ML: But you still think she's with another man?

DP: That's the only information that I have.

ML: You've been very public over the course of this and have gotten a lot of criticism for some of the things you've done. Appearing on this show was one, doing a shoot for People Magazine was another, a radio program I think we can describe as "an ill-fated radio program" where you participated in a stunt called "win a date with Drew Peterson." What do you regret over the last four months, Drew?

DP: Letting Geraldo Rivera in my house (laughing).

ML: Anything other than that?

DP: Nothing other than that.

JB: I, you know, some of those things, you know, we just, what we discovered is, defense lawyers, cops, you know, investigators, police officers, prosecutors, as kind of a coping mechanism, is we develop this kind of perverse sense of humor and it's not really appreciated by .

. .

ML: Some call it a morgue mentality.

JB: Ex, Exactly, and it's, and it's we never meant to ins . . make anybody, insult anybody, it's just a sense of humor that outside of our little field is just not appreciated or understood.

ML: You've both maintained all along that you do not feel that you will be arrested - you've said that to me both on several occasions.

JB: Yes.

ML: Do you still feel that you will not be arrested?

DP: I just don't know.

ML: How about you? (pointing at JB)

DP: I still don't see any credible evidence, um at this ti. . .

ML: But are you confident that he will not be arrested?

JB: Yes, I am.

ML: Are you prepared to be arrested?

DP: Yes.

ML: Are you prepared that there's a chance that you could spend the rest of your life in jail?

DP: I'm prepared for anything that should come up. Once I found out . . . my main concern about anything is my children. And once all my ducks are in line for their well-being, I'm OK.

ML: I think people might find that strange, Drew, that an innocent man would say as long as my kids are OK, it's OK if I spend the rest of my life in jail.

DP: It's not OK, but as long as psychologically and physically my kids are OK, I'm OK.

ML: The court of public opinion, the jurors in that court are watching this morning, so if you want to look into the camera, what would you say to the jurors in the court of public opinion who are not so sure that you had nothing to do with the disappearance of Stacy or the death of Kathleen?

DP: What would I say to them?

ML: Yeah.

DP: I really have nothing to say to them, basically they are going to have to base their decision on evidence presented or not presented.

JB: Yeah, and that's all I would add to it, just look at the evidence. One can suspect and be wrong. In Illinois we had thirteen people who were actually on death row who were later exonerated and found to be not guilty. You have to really just look at the evidence because as much as suspicion is, or strange coincidences might be, you have to, wrong decisions happen in courts because you go by emotion, not by evidence and all I would say is look at the evidence and there is no evidence that Drew did anything wrong.

ML: Real quickly, the ISP revoked your gun permit. They returned, the prosecutors returned some weapons they seized in a search warrant on your home and now you've had that permit revoked, so you cannot no longer use a firearm. Are you upset about that?

DP: Well I really don't have a need for firearms. I'm no longer a policeman any longer, so it's like, it's my property, my stuff, but ah, ah, I just have to go with what they do. And that, of course, is open to some sort of litigation and controversy, so . . .

ML: So I guess I just feel the need to ask you here at the end "You had nothing to do with either of these situations, the disappearance of Stacy or the death of Kathleen Savio?"

DP: Nothing.

ML: Drew Peterson, Mr. Brodsky, thanks for being here this morning.

DP: Thank you.

JB: Appreciate it.