Drew Peterson’s Lawyer Kicked for Bad Behavior

     CHICAGO (CN) – “Deplorable behavior” from the former defense attorney of wife-killer Drew Peterson disqualifies him from representing an unrelated client, a judge ruled.
     While Drew Peterson was on trial for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, one of his defense attorneys blamed co-counsel Joel Brodsky for calling Savio’s divorce attorney, Harry Smith, to the witness stand.
     Smith testified that Stacey Peterson, Peterson’s fourth wife who disappeared in 2007, told him she knew her husband killed Savio.
     Some jurors later said Smith’s testimony was crucial to their guilty verdict, a central claim to the request by Peterson’s attorneys for a new trial, the Chicago Tribune reported.
     Judge Edward Burmilla, who presided over the Peterson trial, denied the motion for a new trial, but said he was shocked by some of Brodsky’s comments and would report him to the Illinois Bar’s disciplinary committee, the Tribune reported.
     Brodsky has since been representing Fahred Salem, Mariam Salem and Jrough Al-Daoud in a civil case against Rabi Nesheiwat and George Nesheiwat.
     The Cook County judge presiding over that case disqualified Brodsky and the attorney for the Nesheiwats on Wednesday.
     Judge Raymond Mitchell said Brodsky and Meschino both engaged in “outbursts in open court,” shouting and insulting one another, causing the judge to admonish them, increase the security in the courtroom, and ask a deputy twice to escort Meschino from the courtroom.
     “Despite all of the admonitions and the repeated attempts to dissuade the attorneys from engaging in further misconduct, these attorneys have, to this day, continued to act wholly improperly,” Mitchell wrote. “These attorneys have proved impervious to reason and to a show of force. The presence of additional courtroom deputies has done nothing to curb their bad behavior. Indeed, not only has the required presence of additional security personnel proved unsuccessful in dissuading the egregious conduct of Mr. Brodsky and Mr. Meschino, the idea of diverting security personnel from other areas of the courthouse to deal with attorneys on a repeated basis is completely unacceptable.”
     The attorneys also demonstrated “wholly improper” behavior in discovery, exchanging threatening and insulting voicemails and emails, and filing numerous motions to compel and for sanctions, the judgment states.
     “The animus between the lawyers is so great that the deposition of their clients had to be conducted in the courtroom with court security present throughout,” Mitchell wrote. “The deposition, while just a sample, demonstrated the complete lack of civility that has characterized the attorneys’ conduct throughout this case.”
     Brodsky specifically went beyond the pale when he “compounded his share of what was at best ‘bad behavior’ by outright attorney misconduct when he sent two ex parte letters to the chief judge referencing this case and seeking judicial action in favor of Mr. Brodsky’s clients,” Mitchell added.
     While cognizant of a client’s right to choose his own attorney, the judge cited his obligation to “protect the judicial process,” and struck the appearances of Brodsky and Meschino from this case.
     “Significantly, after again being advised of this litany of bad conduct in open court today, neither Mr. Brodsky or Mr. Meschino raised an objection to disqualification in this case,” the ruling states.
     Brodsky has a case pending against his Peterson co-counsel Steve Greenberg, accusing his former co-counsel of “pathological narcissism.”

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