Once allies, Drew Peterson is silencing ex-attorney who wants to reveal 'what happened to Stacy'
As the onetime attorney for former Bolingbrook cop Drew Peterson, Joel Brodsky likely has lots of tales to tell about his infamous client.
But for now, he'll have to keep those stories to himself.
A state appeals court has upheld a gag order that bans Brodsky from publicly spilling the beans about his work as Peterson's lawyer or disclosing what he learned from the cop turned convicted killer.
Brodsky represented the notorious ex-police officer during his 2012 trial on charges he murdered his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Peterson -- who's also suspected in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy -- was found guilty and sentenced to 38 years in prison.
Courtroom allies then, Peterson and Brodsky became antagonists a decade later, after the attorney appeared on a May 17 WGN-TV news segment. During that interview, Brodsky said he was considering disclosing secrets about Peterson, in what would seem a clear violation of attorney-client privilege.
"I feel bad about Drew still not taking responsibility and Stacy still being missing," Brodsky told WGN. "I'm thinking about maybe revealing what happened to Stacy and where she is."
"I know everything about both of (Peterson's) wives -- everything, " he said.
A day later, Peterson went to court seeking a gag order. Peterson argued that even though he was found guilty and imprisoned, he continues to fight his conviction. If Brodsky revealed their private discussions, it would severely prejudice him if he gets a new trial, he argued.
In a twist, the prosecutors who sent Peterson to prison were on his side, arguing that Brodsky could be a witness in the ongoing proceedings and any disclosure of privileged information would violate the rules of professional conduct.
A Will County judge agreed and barred Brodsky from publicly discussing the case. The Chicago-based attorney -- whose license was suspended in 2019 for unrelated reasons -- appealed, arguing the gag order is unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech.
In a Dec. 2 decision, the Third District Appellate Court of Illinois agreed the order is prior restraint -- but it concluded it is legal and necessary.
"Brodsky could not be allowed to so brazenly threaten to disseminate, to the public, the contents of the privileged communications at issue in this case," Justice John L. Hauptman wrote in the unanimous ruling, noting that Brodsky has an "obvious lack of respect for the attorney-client privilege."
Brodsky, who recently launched a campaign for a Chicago City Council seat, has the right to ask the Illinois Supreme Court to give his case a look. Attempts to reach him for comment this week were unsuccessful.
Beware of puppy scams
Just imagine the look on your kids' faces when they wake up Christmas Day to find an oh-so-cute purebred puppy under the tree.
Now imagine the look on your face when you discover you've been scammed out of hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars when the pooch you ordered online never arrives.
The Better Business Bureau and veterinarians.org are warning people this week about puppy scams. According to the BBB, Illinois ranks 12th on the list of states where people have reported being defrauded when trying to buy a dog.
And the amount of money people are losing has increased. The average loss was $850 so far in 2022, up 60% since 2017, according to the BBB.
The most popular breeds involved are Yorkshire terriers, dachshunds and French bulldogs, accounting for 30% of the ripoffs. Overall, more than 40 breeds were mentioned in reports.
How do they get you?
They lure you to fake websites with pictures of cute puppies. Besides the cost of the dog, they ask for more money for shipping. And then, they ask for money for special shipping crates, or vaccinations, or transportation insurance, or other items. The fraudsters often insist on being paid with hard-to-track payment methods such as payment apps.
Other signs of a scam include:
• The seller says you can't see the puppy in person before the sale or adoption, and won't give you multiple pictures or videos of the animal.
• The seller won't give information about the puppy's sire (breeder speak for "father") or dam ("mother").
• The pup is being offered at a steep discount, compared to the average price for a puppy of its breed.
To avoid falling for such scams, experts recommend buying in person. Veterinarians.org suggests checking with breeder associations or dog-rescue groups recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Kathleen McCafferty of Glen Ellyn is among those who've reported a puppy scam to the BBB. A lifelong dog owner who made a documentary film in college about puppy mills, she recently was looking to buy two Pomeranian pups when she came across a pair of websites that suspiciously featured photos of the same dog.
(We also found the image on a third website -- one based out of Tunisia.)
"They probably get a billion little girls who convince their mommies to put a deposit in," McCafferty said.
She said won't make a deposit until seeing a puppy in person.
"You can alleviate a lot of things by saying, 'When can I get my eyes on them?'" McCafferty said.
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