Girlfriend won't be called to hearing

November 14, 2003 

Prosecutors have decided not to call Fresno massage therapist Amber Frey to testify in Scott Peterson's preliminary hearing on double-murder charges, Frey's attorney said Thursday.

Calling Frey a "victim of Scott Peterson's deception," Gloria Allred said prosecutors notified her Thursday that they would not put Frey on the stand during the preliminary hearing.

"The defense might have chosen to revictimize her for doing the right thing -- cooperating with law enforcement," Allred said, adding that it was "likely" Frey would be called to testify if Judge Al Girolami decides at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing that a trial is warranted.

Frey, who was Peterson's girlfriend at the time his wife, Laci, disappeared, is widely considered to be a key prosecution witness. Frey, 28, has said she did not know Peterson was married when they were introduced.

Allred refused to comment on why prosecutors decided not to call Frey or when she was informed of the decision.

Allred announced the move after the close of Thursday's session, which featured a blistering cross-examination of Modesto police Detective Al Brocchini by defense attorney Mark Geragos.

Prosecutors may opt to have a witness testify only at trial to shield them from grueling cross-examination and remove the possibility that their testimony at the preliminary hearing and the trial could differ, legal observers said.

Prosecutors could not be reached Thursday for comment on the decision.

Thursday's testimony produced new details about the relationship between Scott Peterson and Amber Frey.

Frey's best friend at the time, Shawn Sibley, introduced the two after Sibley met Peterson in October at an agricultural conference in Anaheim, Brocchini said.

Some time later, Sibley, 28, agreed to set up Peterson with her friend only if he were interested in a "serious" relationship, Brocchini testified. Sibley then provided Frey and Peterson with one another's phone numbers.

Sibley confronted Peterson in early December after learning he was married, the detective said.

"Scott begged her not to call Amber about it, that he would tell her," Brocchini said.

Peterson said he had "lost his wife" and would sometimes tell people he was married, and other times would tell people he wasn't, Brocchini said.

Peterson sounded "extremely upset," as if he were crying during a telephone conversation with Sibley, Brocchini said the Fresno woman told him.

Peterson told Frey on Dec. 9 that he had "lost his wife," and the two attended a birthday party for Sibley's fiancé on Dec. 11, the detective said.

After Peterson's wife was reported missing two weeks later, media coverage of the disappearance ballooned.

Frey called a police tips line Dec. 30.

At the request of detectives, Frey taped phone conversations with Peterson and made repeated calls to him while authorities tapped his phones, according to phone records and police testimony.

But defense attorney Kirk McAllister suggested in court that Frey may have taped conversations with Peterson on Dec. 16.

Allred said Thursday there is "no evidence" to support that suggestion.

After Allred spoke to the media, a paralegal from Geragos' law firm handed her legal documents.

Allred declined to address the documents after they were handed to her and did not return a call Thursday seeking comment.

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