03/10/2008 (www.cnn.com) Nancy Grace Show

Attorney Harry Smith says Kathleen Savio didn’t have a WILL

Attorney Joel Brodsky says Kathleen Savio had a WILL


PLEASE NOTE: This original official transcript has been (SNIPPED) to include ONLY information discussion on the Stacy Peterson and/or Kathleen Savio case.



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GRACE: Also tonight, breaking developments in the case of a missing 23-year-old mom Stacy Peterson, vanishing upscale Chicago suburbs, husband/cop Drew Peterson the prime suspect in his fourth wife`s disappearance, the suspicious bathtub drowning of Peterson`s third wife officially ruled homicide.

Tonight: Once again, Drew Peterson makes the scene to discover evidence. This time, it`s his third wife`s missing will.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While Kathleen Savio was divorcing Drew Peterson, she didn`t have a will, according to her lawyer, Harry Smith.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever ask her about a will, to your recollection?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did she say she had one?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Smith`s claims are true, it raises many questions about the validity of the will, the same attorney claiming Peterson`s missing fourth wife, Stacy, talked to him about divorce just 48 hours before she disappeared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She did contact me for information regarding a dissolution of marriage.




ROE CONN, HOST, WLS RADIO: There is a will, right? There is a -- Kathleen Savio has a will that is now being contested. The signature, it`s not -- I`m not sure, officially if it`s a will or it`s a determination.

HARRY SMITH, KATHLEEN SAVIO`S DIVORCE ATTORNEY: No, right after she passed away that was not there, I recall. So obviously, you know, that`s just my memory to it. I recall Drew`s attorney making a representation that there was a will. But it did not surface for a long time.

CONN: You`ve never seen this will?

SMITH: No, absolutely not.

CONN: As her divorce attorney, you`d not seen the will.


CONN: Would you -- did you ever ask her about a will to your recollection?

SMITH: Yes. Yes.

CONN: And did she say she had one?



GRACE: Once again, Drew Peterson makes the same discovery, evidence, this time apparently his third wife didn`t have a will and then suddenly Peterson discovers it. And it`s a holographic or handwritten will.

Who are these witnesses? Let`s find out. Let`s go to Mary Frances Bragiel with WBBM Newsradio 780.

Mary Frances, welcome. What can you tell me?

MARY FRANCES BRAGIEL, REPORTER, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780: All I can tell you is that apparently this will was found about 15 days after Kathleen Savio`s death. And according to Drew it`s an authentic will. It held up in a court. The judge said it held up in a court. And the witnesses are apparently friends of Drew Peterson who witnessed both of them signing it.

Drew said they simply forgot about it. He had no idea just as you heard from the attorney there saying that he didn`t know anything about it. Drew said they knew, they forgot about it, and that was it.

GRACE: Interesting. Interesting. Who represented that she did not have a will, Mary Frances?

BRAGIEL: Say that again?

GRACE: Who had represented at any juncture that Kathleen Savio did not have a will?

BRAGIEL: It was her divorce attorney who said that he knew -- he didn`t know of any type of will at all when they were talking about a divorce.

GRACE: Out to the lawyers. Daniel Horowitz, isn`t that the first thing, one of the first things you look at in a divorce is financial matters whether there is a will intact?

HOROWITZ: Sure. I mean you would ask all those questions, Nancy. I`m puzzled because a few things bother me. First of all why did not this lawyer not come forward when the original will went to probate? Didn`t he know about it? Secondly I wonder if there is a criminal prosecution whether what he says she said to her is hearsay and doesn`t come in or if it`s some hearsay exception? So that`s what`s bothering me at this moment.

GRACE: Randy?

ZELIN: I think you also have a very interesting attorney-client privilege issue. Let`s not forget that even after death the privilege remains. I think it was completely inappropriate for him to go public and say she told me that she never had a will.

GRACE: Randy Zelin, once again side-tracking in defense of Drew Peterson. Good to know. Holly?

HUGHES: You know this doesn`t surprise me that he`s the one who found the will. This guy charms people. How do you think he got four wives, Nancy? The fact that he lied about this and had his friends convince them to lie. He`s a charmer. You know he can talk people into things.

GRACE: Joining me right now, I`m hearing in my ear, a very special guest. This is the defense attorney for Drew Peterson, cop turned husband turned suspect in his fourth wife`s disappearance, Joel Brodsky, a veteran trial lawyer in the Chicago area.

Joel, welcome. Who are the witnesses to this will?

JOEL BRODSKY, ATTORNEY FOR DREW PETERSON: Well, one was a partner of -- police officer partner of Drew`s, former police officer partner. And the other was a friend of Drew`s.

GRACE: Why is -- why in -- with her will.

BRODSKY: Well, actually it wasn`t just her will.

GRACE: A joint -- it`s a joint will.

BRODSKY: It was a joint will, correct.

GRACE: Why are both of the witnesses his friends?

BRODSKY: Well, those are who were available. If you remember, Drew.

GRACE: Available.

BRODSKY: Drew has testified that they -- that he and or Drew stated that both he and.

GRACE: Kathleen?

BRODSKY: .and Kathy were about to go on a vacation and that they needed to get a will done.


BRODSKY: .you know, to protect their children. It`s just common that people who are about to leave...

GRACE: Really? Because I have never written a will on my way to vacation. I thought about it after 9/11. Didn`t do it. So.

BRODSKY: A lot of people do do it.

GRACE: .she (INAUDIBLE) wanted a will to fully enjoy his vacation. What were they? Skydiving? Scuba diving? What?

BRODSKY: Well, they just wanted to make sure that if something occurred to them during their vacation.

GRACE: Where did they go? Where did they go?

BRODSKY: I don`t recall but...

GRACE: Daytona Beach, Disneyland, some where dangerous they needed a will?

BRODSKY: They were concerned for their -- for the two children that if something happened to them that their children would be taken care of.

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Under the law if you are in testate without a will everything you`ve got goes to your children anyway.

BRODSKY: Well, at least then they would appoint them an executor and the will also detailed where the money was.

But let me just say one thing about the signature in the will.

GRACE: Did Drew write this? Did Drew -- this is a holographic or handwritten will.


GRACE: I take it that Drew wrote this.

BRODSKY: Correct.

GRACE: This is not her handwriting. So Drew Peterson hand wrote the will. Yes, sir. OK. This had Drew Peterson`s two friend witness the will. Yes?

BRODSKY: Right. Right. But.


BRODSKY: But also this is.

GRACE: How could he say he didn`t remember it then?

BRODSKY: The Chicago -- by the way, "The Chicago Suns-Times" hired a handwriting expert and that handwriting expert confirmed that that was Kathleen`s signature on the will. So there`s no question that it`s Kathleen`s signature.


BRODSKY: You know, by a handwriting expert and by two witnesses.


BRODSKY: .who came into court and swore that they saw her sign it.

GRACE: I`ve got a question.


GRACE: Why then did everyone believe she did not have a will?

BRODSKY: Well, apparently what happened was they did it so quickly before they left on vacation that when they returned they both pretty much forgot about it. Remember, this was in 1997 and the divorce didn`t start until 2003. So during that five-year period they forgot it existed. Drew didn`t discover it until later on when -- after Kathleen passed away when he started going through their papers and found it.

GRACE: Did they probate it? In other words, take the will to file it at the courthouse?

BRODSKY: Yes, they did. It wasn`t a self authenticating will.

GRACE: When?

BRODSKY: Very shortly after it was discovered. I`m not exactly sure of the date.

GRACE: Whoa. Wait. Wait. After it was discovered.


GRACE: When was it discovered?


GRACE: When?

BRODSKY: I think a couple weeks after Kathy passed away.

GRACE: Fifteen days. OK. The plot thickens.

To Mary Frances Bragiel, the will is discovered by Drew Peterson a few weeks after his wife`s unusual drowning death in a dry bathtub covered in bruises. It`s now been ruled a homicide. Hold on. Mary Frances, do we know where it was discovered?

BRAGIEL: No, some place in the house. Drew apparently just came across this will.

GRACE: Where was it discovered, Joel?

BRODSKY: Like she said, along their papers and -- among their papers in Drew`s house.

GRACE: OK, everybody. I want to pause.

Tonight a really big occasion. A happy anniversary to Ann and Chuck in Fayetteville, Georgia. Here they are. They beat the odds. Fifty-one years and going strong.

Happy anniversary.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While Kathleen Savio was divorcing Drew Peterson she didn`t have a will according to her lawyer Harry Smith. If Smith`s claims are true, it raises many questions about the validity of the will. The same attorney claiming Peterson`s missing fourth wife Stacy talked to him about divorce just 48 hours before she disappeared.


GRACE: Let`s go out to the lines, Sheeba in Illinois. Hi, Sheeba.

SHEEBA, FROM ILLINOIS: Hi, sweetie. My question is this is starting to sound like the good old boys club down south. And I wonder if they`re going to check this will for any fingerprints.

GRACE: Well, Sheeba.

SHEEBA: There should be more fingerprints of hers than his.

GRACE: Yes, there should be. Sheeba, I don`t know about the good old boys club down in the south. But this is Chicago. And I would like to know, Mary Frances, what if any tests have been run on the will?

BRAGIEL: I have no idea. The Illinois state police investigators obviously have said nothing about this nor has the Will County state`s attorney at this point. So if they are I`m sure they`re looking at it once again. But don`t forget the judge already validated this he will, saying it was truthful.

GRACE: And Joel Brodsky, who wanted a handwriting analysis run on it?

BRODSKY: Oh it was "The Chicago Sun-Times" when they did an investigation into both the will and then a separate power of attorney that Kathy signed and was used in, after her death and probation and distributing property.

GRACE: OK. To Lynn in Tennessee. Hi, Lynn.

LYNN, FROM TENNESSEE: Hi, Miss Nancy. How are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear.

LYNN: I just want to tell you I have so much respect for you and I just love your tenacity.

GRACE: Thank you.

LYNN: My question is I have noticed, you know, in the beginning, Drew was so talkative. And it seems like since the autopsy where they ruled it a homicide you don`t hear very much out of him. And I find it funny how he claims he has discovered the will.

GRACE: Uh-oh, we have lost the caller. Lynn, I didn`t get the question. Please call us back.


See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp, Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.