03/17/2008 (www.cnn.com) Nancy Grace Show

“Guests: Joel Brodsky and Peterson neighbor, Sharon Bychowski”


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



Judge Orders all but Drew Peterson`s Guns Returned

Aired March 17, 2008 - 20:00:00 ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight in the case of 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 dry bathtub drowning of Peterson`s third wife officially ruled homicide.

Headlines tonight: Peterson has a date with Lady Justice before a judge, Will County courthouse, his first court date since wife Stacy disappeared.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drew Peterson left an Illinois courtroom today with a judge`s order allowing Peterson to pick up his cars, computers, copies of hard drives. But Peterson`s guns still not back in his possession. While Peterson`s lost his gun permit, attorney Joel Brodsky argued Peterson`s adult son should be able to hold his guns. The judge, though, wants son Steve Peterson in court before agreeing to return any of Drew Peterson`s weapons. First time Peterson in court since being named a suspect in his fourth wife, Stacy`s, disappearance.



GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Breaking news. His fourth wife vanishes after his third wife drowns in a dry bathtub, her body covered in bruises, hair matted with blood. Tonight, prime suspect Drew Peterson heads to court.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drew Peterson gets his stuff back. After months of haggling, the former cop, now suspect in fourth wife, Stacy`s, disappearance, will be able to get most of his property back, Peterson, along with lawyer Joel Brodsky, in court today for the first time since Stacy disappeared, agreeing that if Peterson ever goes to trial, the validity of the evidence can`t be contested. Evidence Peterson gets back includes his GMC Yukon Denali, Pontiac Grand Prix and computers, the notoriously loose-lipped Peterson saying little in court today, sticking to mostly, Yes, your honor.

JOE BRODSKY, DREW PETERSON`S ATTORNEY: He was very pleased that he`s getting his property back. We believe that, you know, the judge did the right thing. The state`s had the property for more than enough time to process it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These firearms were taken into state police possession pursuant to a search warrant that was executed by the court. We don`t feel it`s appropriate at this point to return those weapons to Mr. Peterson.


GRACE: Drew Peterson in court today. As much as you see him on the air, for instance, on the "Today" show, dodging questions by Matt Lauer, calling in to radio shows on a "Date a Drew" game that he was entering, he was amazingly quiet in court, limiting himself to, Yes, your honor.

Joining me right now from "The Chicago Defender, Kathy Chaney. Why was Peterson in court today, Kathy?

KATHY CHANEY, "CHICAGO DEFENDER": Well, he appeared before a judge for the first time since being named a suspect in his fourth wife`s disappearance. The judge told him today that he could get his cars, computers and other items seized by authorities four months ago, but the 11 guns out of the question for now.

GRACE: Joining me right now is a special guest, Drew Peterson`s defense attorney, Joel Brodsky, a veteran trial lawyer in the Chicago area. Mr. Brodsky, why is it so important to your client to get all of his guns, his gun collection, back?

BRODSKY: It`s his property. You know, in America, you`re entitled to your property unless the police can take it, the authorities can take it, unless it`s contraband or has been used in the commission of a crime. It`s not specifically so much the guns, but it`s his property and the state has no right to take it unless they can prove that it`s either contraband, which obviously it`s not, or it was used in the commission of a crime. It`s going to go, obviously, until we get Drew`s (INAUDIBLE) ID card, his firearm owner`s identification and his gun permit back.

GRACE: Why was that -- why did the attorney general disallow him to get his guns back?

BRODSKY: Well, it was the state police that have jurisdiction over those, and they used the general that he`s not a fit person, he has an assaultive or violent personality. They used that kind of catch-all phrase in order to revoke it. But Drew was a police officer for 32 years and never even fired his gun in the line of duty. He`s had a firearms owner`s ID since he was 17 without incident. I don`t think they really had any good faith basis for doing it.

GRACE: Have police ever been called to his home for a domestic dispute?

BRODSKY: They were called, but the majority of those calls, when he was married to Kathy Savio, were actually initiated by Drew.

GRACE: The majority?


GRACE: How many times did the police have to come to their home?

BRODSKY: Well, there were 18 calls, but only a few of them were for alleged violence.

GRACE: Isn`t one enough? Isn`t one enough to keep him from getting his guns back?

BRODSKY: No. There has to be actually an order of protection that stands after a full evidentiary hearing, and then you can lose your (INAUDIBLE) ID card.

GRACE: Did she always refuse to file charges?

BRODSKY: I think only one time did her calling the police ever result in the issuance of an order of protection, and then that was dropped on the first court date at Kathy`s request.

GRACE: And then she ends up dead. That`s quite a coincidence, isn`t it.

BRODSKY: Well, I don`t think one thing has anything to do with the other.

GRACE: Really. To Dr. Robi Ludwig. What`s the number one cause of death amongst, for instance, pregnant women?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, it`s their partner and...

GRACE: Homicide.

LUDWIG: Homicide. That`s right. That`s right. And usually it`s the partner that they`re with is responsible.

GRACE: To Joel Brodsky, Drew Peterson`s attorney, joining us tonight. Mr. Brodsky, I understand that your client, Drew Peterson, used a special basement entrance and exit from the courthouse?

BRODSKY: Yes, he did.

GRACE: Just like Britney Spears and Nicole Richie, all the superstars that need to protect themselves from the paparazzi?

BRODSKY: Well, it wasn`t anything to do with paparazzi. Drew`s received many death threats over the last months, and the sheriff agreed that, you know, here we had an exact time and date where he was going to be appearing in a specific location and...

GRACE: Death threats?


GRACE: Who intercepted the death threats? Is he discovering evidence again?

BRODSKY: No. These come by -- in the mail. We`ve actually now -- after appearing on your show I think about a month ago, we received a call from the Bolingbrook Police Department, and now we`re forwarding the death threats to them. But they`re anonymous death threats, obviously.

GRACE: Anonymous. Of course they are. Joel, why is it that I had to ask you specifically and pointedly on the air why you aren`t handing these death threats over to police in order to get Drew Peterson to contact police? It`s almost as if the death threats don`t exist.

BRODSKY: Well, we were calling them, but we weren`t getting a response. And after we appeared on your show and you brought up this subject and I explained we weren`t getting a response, we ended up then getting a response from the Bolingbrook police.

GRACE: You know, it seems, according to you and your client, Drew Peterson, that everybody is in a big conspiracy to irritate and hurt Drew Peterson. You say the attorney general won`t let him have his gun license. The police, they keep coming out on these domestic calls. Now there are anonymous death threats. The police won`t follow up. You even claim that his neighbor is stalking him. And in fact, you went to the effort of sending me U.S. code statute 22:61.A as a grounds to prosecute her. Now, did you read this statute, Mr. Brodsky?

BRODSKY: Oh, yes, I did.

GRACE: So you do know that this applies when someone is in another state or in an Indian tribal jurisdiction. How does that apply to his neighbor, may I ask?

BRODSKY: It also has to do when you`re using an interstate computer service, which is an interstate commerce, and then it does apply.

GRACE: This says travels, travels in interstate or foreign commerce or special maritime jurisdiction.

BRODSKY: If you look at the last paragraph, it says whoever uses the mail, any interactive computer service or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to that person...

GRACE: And how is the neighbor doing that via computer, may I ask?

BRODSKY: Well, we have people that kind of track the postings on this Web site that they have, and they`ve actually threatened...

GRACE: Who is "they"?

BRODSKY: Well, people who post on the site have threatened to poison Drew`s food. They`ve threatened to -- they track his whereabouts. They`ve threatened to...

GRACE: And you can prove the neighbor is one of these people you`re referring to?

BRODSKY: Yes. Absolutely. Roy Taylor (ph), her son, is the one that started one of the worst threats that we went through, where they -- the majority of these threats and...

GRACE: I assume you`re referring to Sharon Bychowski?

BRODSKY: Sharon`s son, Roy. That`s correct.

GRACE: Joining me right now is Stacy Peterson`s best friend and neighbor, Sharon Bychowski. Ms. Bychowski, thank you for being with us. Response?

SHARON BYCHOWSKI, STACY PETERSON`S FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR: Thank you, Nancy. And it`s nice to finally get to meet you. Congratulations on your little ones.

GRACE: Thank you. Thank you very much.

BYCHOWSKI: My response to Joel is I think he`s fishing. He should be looking for Stacy Peterson. No one has ever, ever threatened Drew Peterson. What we have simply said is, Let`s all go out as a group and look for Stacy. And that`s our only intention. We need to bring this girl home. Drew, I leave that to the Illinois State Police. This is my concern. Let`s bring home Stacy Peterson.

GRACE: Miss Bychowski, how do you respond to allegations that you are stalking Drew Peterson?

BYCHOWSKI: You know, if you can read my sign, it says nothing about Drew Peterson. Actually, to my point before, I leave all that up to the state police. I only care about my good friend, who`s been missing since October. And I just want to bring her home.

GRACE: Sharon, tell me about her. I look and I look and I study and study. I want to hear what she was like in life.

BYCHOWSKI: She is a beautiful person. She`s a wonderful mother. And you know, all her objective was, was to have a great family. And somebody made a decision for her to be missing. And we miss her very much and we just want to bring her home. That`s all of our intention.

GRACE: Sharon, when was the last time you actually spoke to her?

BYCHOWSKI: It was the Wednesday before she disappeared. And I brought a pie over to her from Baker Square (ph). And you know, Stacy and I had a very good relationship.

GRACE: Do you have any idea what her children are being told about her disappearance?

BYCHOWSKI: You know, I don`t. And all I know is I see her kids out playing outside. I saw them this weekend. Lacy ran up to me. I got to give her a big hug. I love all those kids. My only concern is to bring their mom home. We just want to bring Stacy home.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Susanne in Michigan. Hi, Susanne.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. How are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Congratulations on your beautiful babies.

GRACE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question about this Peterson stuff is, why has he not been either forced or court ordered to take a polygraph?

GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us tonight, Susan Moss, Alex Sanchez, Jason Oshins, along with probate and will specialist Jeffrey Skatoff. Let`s go out to Susan Moss. What about the lie detector test?

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, unfortunately, the authorities cannot force somebody to take a lie detector test in any one of the states of the union. But I`ll tell you something, Peterson in court, I call it foreshadowing.

GRACE: What about it, Jason Oshins?

JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Listen, there`s a reason they`re not admissible. You can`t go ahead and have the government agencies or police, you know, go ahead and attack people and force them to prove their innocence. There`s a reason it`s beyond a reasonable doubt. You don`t have the goods, you don`t have the benefit of...

GRACE: But Alex Sanchez...

OSHINS: -- going after him.

GRACE: ... if you were trying to head off a prosecution, Alex -- I`ve had many a defense attorney come to me and say, He`s willing to take a polygraph. You set it up. He`s going to pass it. Put your mind at rest. And we actually do the polygraph. If you`re trying to get your client`s prosecution stopped before it ever starts, isn`t that a good way to do it?

ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, that may be a good way to do it, but we don`t even know whether or not it`s been requested of Mr. Peterson to take a lie detector test. But the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution says a person has a right to remain silent. No one can force him, no body in this world can force this man to go and take a lie detector test against his will. And that is apparently what he`s doing.

GRACE: Also tonight, we learn, Joel Brodsky -- this is Drew Peterson`s defense attorney -- that the will of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, is now -- the handling of her estate -- since her death has now been ruled a homicide officially and a second autopsy following exhumation, I understand that you are fighting any reopening of her estate.

BRODSKY: Yes. They`ve moved to reopen the estate...

GRACE: Who`s "they"?

BRODSKY: The Savio family. They`ve moved to reopen the estate...

GRACE: Well, do you blame them? I mean, her death has been ruled a homicide now.

BRODSKY: Right. The problem that they have is that they moved to open the estate to administer a wrongful death case. However, the statute of limitations ran over two years ago.

GRACE: Oh, really?


GRACE: Well, hold on. To Jeffrey Skatoff, a will and probate specialist joining us out of West Palm Beach, Florida. Jeffrey, what about if fraud is somehow involved or some illegal activity is involved in the death that leads to that will?

JEFFREY SKATOFF, WILL AND PROBATE ATTORNEY: Nancy, as far as reopening the estate goes, Illinois has what`s called the "slayer statute," which means that if you establish that somebody killed the deceased, they can`t inherit from the estate. Under Illinois law, there is no statute of limitations to apply to the "slayer statute" in a probate estate.

GRACE: Joel Brodsky...

SKATOFF: Moreover, if...

GRACE: ... your thoughts?

BRODSKY: But Drew did not inherit from the estate. What they want to do is open up -- reopen the estate to administer what they`re calling a new asset. But that asset doesn`t exist. A lawsuit which -- for which the statute of limitations has run out is not an asset.

GRACE: According to Savio`s family, there were $3 million at stake in Savio`s estate.

BRODSKY: Yes, that was the insurance proceeds, which went to the children, not to Drew.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Carol in California. Hi, Carol.


GRACE: Hi, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, first of all, I want to thank you for having the guts to stand up for victims. You`re little but you`re loud, and we love you for it.


GRACE: Thank you, Carol.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re welcome. Another thing is, you know, I haven`t heard anything about that blue container for quite a while. And there were some details linked with that that really seemed important, such as it possibly contained pool chemicals, and the relative or whomever he was who helped Drew to move it seemed to have some pangs of guilt or something. Maybe he ended up in a hospital over that weekend and...

GRACE: Let`s go out to Kathy Chaney with "The Chicago Defender." We did hear a lot about that blue container. What can you tell us about it?

CHANEY: We did hear quite a bit about it, but there`s nothing substantial with that at all.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know that he was very controlling (INAUDIBLE) followed her, checked her phone calls, and you know, basically went everywhere she went. I believe Drew lost control. And (INAUDIBLE) and we don`t think Stacy ever left the house that day.




BRODSKY: Drew is very pleased that he`s getting his property back. We believe that, you know, the judge did the right thing. The state`s had the property for more than enough time to process it. And we believe that, you know, the judge has reviewed the secret testimony of the state, he looked at the affidavits, and still found that there was no compelling reason for the state to retain the property any longer. I think that says something, if you want to try the read between the lines.


GRACE: For all his talking in the media, including the "Today" show, local radio station, interviews, today Drew Peterson in his first court date was amazingly quiet, limiting himself to, Yes, your honor.

Let`s go back out to the lines. Tommie Jean in Tennessee. Hi, Tommie Jean.


GRACE: Hi, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I would like to congratulate you on your two precious children.

GRACE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we don`t have a computer, so I didn`t (ph) have a blog. But I have some questions about Drew Peterson.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has had four wives, I understand. What happened to the first two? How many children does he have, and what are their ages? Where are they?

GRACE: I know the first two are still living, the third dead in a dry bathtub by drowning, the fourth disappeared.

To Kathy Chaney. What can you tell me about the children, and by which wife are they?

CHANEY: The last two are by Stacy. The previous two, the two teen boys, are by Kathleen Savio. And there`s an older son, I believe, by maybe the first wife. He`s an Oakbrook (ph) police officer.

GRACE: To Pat Brown, criminal profiler and author of "Killing for Sport." Pat, have you noticed that everything going on around him, Drew Peterson thinks it`s all about him, everybody`s out to get him, to irritate him? It`s never about his wife.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, exactly, Nancy. And one of the things you do when you don`t want people to look at you is you throw everything on everyone else. It`s everyone else`s fault. It`s all about me, and, Hey, you know, I`m innocent, so why can`t you talk about everyone else.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in court and my secretary, Dawn (ph), called and said, Were you aware that Stacy Peterson was missing? And you know, it was obviously an odd feeling, to say the least, and a little ominous in my mind just because of the circumstances and what had happened to Kathleen.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These firearms were taken into state police possession pursuant to a search warrant that was executed by the court and -- you know, involving the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, and we feel that, you know, they have potential evidentiary value. And we don`t feel it`s appropriate at this point to return those weapons to Mr. Peterson.


GRACE: Drew Peterson in court today, finally.

Out to the lines. Tracy in Illinois. Hi, Tracy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I have a comment and a question. First, my comment is -- this lawyer of his. I -- you know, it`s great that he`s his lawyer because he`s just as arrogant as Drew Peterson and does nothing for the man, which I`m very thankful for, that he`s arrogant. And my question is, do you know if they`re going to be stepping up the searches again for her, now that our weather here in Illinois is better? Because I`m, like, 40 miles...

GRACE: Excellent question, Tracy. Out to Kathy Chaney with "The Chicago Defender." I understand the search is about to resume.

CHANEY: Yes. Within the next two weeks, it will resume, thanks in large part to $11,000 that was raised at a fund-raiser held for her about two weeks ago.

GRACE: Out to Jane in Canada. Hi, Jane.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Could you just tell me, please, as Drew Peterson has claimed that he`s innocent in his last wife`s disappearance and the wife before`s death, has his lawyer ever advised him that it would be in his best interests to take a lie detector?

GRACE: Joel Brodsky, I believe you advised him against it.

BRODSKY: That`s correct.

GRACE: Just yes, no.

BRODSKY: I have advised him against it.

GRACE: And Sharon Bychowski, final thought?

BYCHOWSKI: You know, we`re going to keep looking for her until we find her. Everybody knows Stacy`s out there. We want to bring her home.


Thank you to our guests but most of all to you for being with us. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp, Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.