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Peterson Lawyer Says Vaughn Attorney Can't Get His Client Out Of His Head

Drew Peterson defense attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez called blaming him and his co-counsel for helping send quadruple-killer Christopher Vaughn to prison "desperate."

Christopher Vaughn was staring at a life sentence for executing his entire family unless his lawyer somehow got him a new trial.

The lawyer, George Lenard, tried to pull that off by pointing to the boorish behavior exhibited by the attorneys for wife-killer Drew Peterson and claiming it kept his client from getting a fair shake from the jury.

Vaughn and Peterson's murder trials overlapped and were conducted in adjacent courtrooms on the fourth floor of the Will County Courthouse. Lenard came and went to the trial without addressing the media while Peterson's attorneys conducted press conferences throughout the day.

Lenard recalled one press session and told how three of Peterson's attorneys—Joel Brodsky, Joseph "Shark" Lopez and Steve Greenberg—stood in front of a bank of cameras and joked about Peterson's missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. The lawyers had listed Stacy as a witness for Peterson's upcoming trial on charges he murdered his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

"That gave criminal defense lawyers—all of us—a bad name," Lenard said Monday while arguing that Vaughn needed a new trial.

"The public, some of the public, has a negative impression of defense attorneys to begin with, then you add to that," said Lenard, who listed the Peterson case and the antics of his attorneys as one of "four major areas" he claims precluded Vaughn from receiving a fair trial.

Judge Daniel Rozak didn't buy Lenard's argument and packed Vaughn off to prison on four life sentences. And Peterson attorney Lopez said that might have had something to do with the legitimacy of Lenard's claims.

"I've never seen anything that ludicrous in my life, but I haven't been everywhere," Lopez said of the argument made by Lenard, whom he happened to replace on the Peterson defense team in April 2010. Lenard and another attorney, Andrew Abood, withdrew from the case together, both citing irreconcilable differences with Brodsky.

"It's a last ditch effort by a desperate man," Lopez said.

When they withdrew and Lopez came on board, Lopez said of Lenard and Abood, "They have absolutely no concept about how to defend this case."

On Tuesday, Lopez said Lenard was still hung up on Peterson.

"He can't get Peterson out of his mind," said Lopez, who was dismissive of Lenard's allegations that he, Brodsky and Greenberg cost Vaughn a fair trial.

"I give it no meaning because I consider the source," Lopez said. "Ex-employees always talk bad about their bosses and co-workers, don't they? Somebody needs someone to blame for their shortcomings."

Lenard could not be reached for comment on Lopez's remarks Tuesday evening.

Greenberg said he understood the basis of Lenard's argument.

"He's going to do what he needs to do," Greenberg said of Lenard. "We did what we needed to do. Some of it I agreed with. Some of it I did because 'Coach' told me to."

Greenberg has said Brodsky wanted the other lawyers on the case to refer to him as "Coach" during Peterson's murder trial. Greenberg has also accused Brodsky of losing the case and making key moves that led to Peterson's conviction.

Brodsky no longer represents Peterson. He claims to have left the defense team voluntarily. A post trial motion filed by the remaining lawyers asserts that Peterson was denied effective assistance of counsel and lists a number of allegedly questionably decisions made by Brodsky.

Lopez, who will be back in court with Peterson for post-conviction matters next month, said Lenard was employing the "Peterson defense" in the Vaughn case.

"He should have used the Twinkie defense," Lopez said.

Watchful Eye November 28, 2012 at 01:11 PM
What a piece of work all of these lawyers are. At first, when I heard Lenard was using the Three Stooges as an argument to win a new trial, I thought it was typical defense nonsense. But, as ALL of them did and do in this case, I thought of it as Lenard's way of jabbing back at the lawyers that replaced him, and as just another way to get his own mug in the news. Lenard is right. The Peterson defense boobs did give defense lawyers in general a black eye, but Lenard is no prize either. He's playing in the pig sty as much as any of them do. Between the schtick acts for the cameras, the finger pointing, and the letter writing, the Peterson defense lawyers give the profession anything but a favorable view, and now Lenard is hitching a ride on the gravy train. Give us a break already!
charles November 28, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Maybe Lopez should make sure his own house is clean before pointing out the dirt in others. Isn't DP seeking a retrial on the grounds that he had ineffective counsel, partly due to the parading about DP did with his attorneys? Cound't that also be considered a "desparate" act? Doesn't his statement of "somebody needs someone to blame for theirshortcomings" also apply to DP? He booted his lead attorney because their own witness told the truth. DP is looking at a long time behind bars and its someone elses' fault. Of course Lenard is going to try to get his client a new trial; that's what any knowledgeable attorney does when their client is looking at prison. I don't even fault DP's legal team for requesting one; it's the grounds upon which they are staking their claim that is humorous to me! Lenard has more class in his morning bowel movement than Lopez or any of the other Peterson Circus clowns will ever possess in a courtroom. Justice was served in both cases. Maybe Vaughn and Peterson can get a room together at Stateville Manor.
Nancy McWilliams November 28, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Newsflash for the Legal Beagles: Sometimes guilty people get sent to prison.
Watchful Eye November 28, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Amen to that! Lenard can also take his useless babble of blaming Kimberly Vaughn for the cold-blooded murders and shove it!
brigitte jones November 29, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Lenard is right about the contempt defense lawyers are held in when they overdo defending the most morally indefensible murders. Types like Lenard have no conscience in even the public costs that Vaughn had already exceeded as the rights of fair defense ought to go. The fact is the prosecution fully "proved " their case with Vaughn who is outright guilty. The one who could have argued on simultaneous case contamination is Lopez. Peterson was convicted because the prosecution made a good enough sounding case based on hearsay, no real evidence and using dirty tricks - repeated inclusions of denied information - more usual for defense lawyers. Peterson's defense slipped and assisted the prosecution as well. So Peterson who just makes a plausible suspect is next door to a heinous wife and children murderer. Both men share the selfishness of wanting life on their terms and got sick of their wives. Unlikely any jurists get affected by next doors trial much, but Peterson had more to fear from Lenard blaming the wife as it was so obviously wrong. Whereas with Peterson's wives who were on the move to meet new chaps could have hit a Craig list killer romeo and just had the usual nasty mouth of men in last stages of resentful pride and with women ready to counter them legally. Peterson really has a right to appeal for a proper trial. What's scary is an innocent spouse could get convicted on similar grounds. Defense lawyers in court have no conscience, eg. Baez!

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