Ex-law partner: Drew Peterson attorney attacked me

Joel Brodsky’s ex-law partner testified that Drew Peterson’s former lead attorney had physically attacked her in the past and tried to intimidate her this morning before she took the witness stand.

The testimony from Reem Odeh, a former attorney for Peterson, came during a hearing on a motion for a new murder trial filed by Peterson’s defense team.

Peterson, convicted last fall of first-degree murder in the 2004 bathtub drowning of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and his attorneys will argue that Peterson deserves a new trial in part because Brodsky’s work on the case was flawed. The 59-year-old former Bolingbrook police sergeant faces 20 to 60 years in prison at his scheduled sentencing Wednesday.
Odeh said this morning that Brodsky talked to her often about how he thought the Peterson case would benefit himself and the firm.

“On many occasions, especially when we would have our quarrels about financial matters regarding the case,” Odeh said.

She also said Brodsky made a comment to her in passing outside the courtroom this morning. Odeh testified that she could not recall Brodsky’s exact words but “I perceived that he was trying to intimidate me or threaten me.”
She also testified that Brodsky had attacked her when she left his firm in 2010.

"There was an incident where he physically attacked me and the police had to be called," she said. "Just remembering what I had to go through is very, very upsetting."

Outside court, Odeh said she never pressed charges because she wanted to end any contact with Brodsky. Also outside court, Brodsky said he never spoke with Odeh or threatened her before the hearing this morning, and said she lied when she testified that he physically attacked her when she dissolved their partnership in 2010.

Instead, it was he who fired her after she allegedly forged his signature on affidavits, he said.

"This is a very angry person who I found out was forging affidavits," Brodsky said.

Odeh denied she forged affidavits when asked about it outside court.
On the witness stand, Odeh said she left Brodsky’s firm under “very disturbing” circumstances. Many of her files and belongings were packed up and shipped out, and she took with her a copy of a contract between Brodsky, Peterson and a publicist.

She said she didn’t take the documents as a hedge against any future action by Brodsky or others.

“I thought that Mr. Brodsky was very furious with me for ending the partnership and leaving. So I gathered everything I could get my hands on and left.”

This morning’s hearing in Joliet began with questions from Judge Edward Burmila about one of Peterson’s attorneys.
Burmila said he was “concerned” about whether defense attorney Steve Greenberg could give his full attention to Peterson’s case given that Greenberg has been sued for libel this month by Brodsky.

"The issue now is that Mr. Greenberg's personal name and financial interest could be at interest due to this lawsuit and the timing of it," Burmila said to Peterson. "Someone could argue...that Greenberg is now pulling his punches because he'd be afraid that if he revisits these same issues, he'd be accused of once again libeling Mr. Brodsky. Do you still have confidence in these attorneys this morning...despite the pendency of this lawsuit?"

"Yes, your honor," Peterson replied.

Peterson remains the sole suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy. Prosecutors believe Peterson killed her and have said they will ask the judge to weigh that when sentencing him.

Peterson's defense team is alleging that Brodsky's legal leadership — including calling a witness whose testimony several jurors said convinced them Peterson was guilty — amounted to ineffective assistance of counsel, which can be grounds for a new trial.

Burmila has indicated that if he denies the motion for a new trial, he will immediately move into the sentencing hearing.

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