11:38 a.m., PDT: REDWOOD CITY - Scott Peterson’s attorney blasted the prosecution case in his opening statement today, alleging a police detective lied in a key document and another investigator suspected Peterson’s mistress was involved in his pregnant wife’s death.
In what defense attorney Mark Geragos called a “linchpin in the prosecution’s case,” a Modesto police detective allegedly lied in a report used to secure court approval to wiretap Peterson’s phones.
Detective Al Brocchini allegedly wrote that Scott Peterson lied about watching an episode of “Martha Stewart Living” shortly before leaving his wife, Laci, on Dec. 24, 2002. Peterson has told police that’s when he last saw his wife alive.
Peterson told Brocchini the episode involved cooking with meringue.
Brocchini wrote in his report that he viewed a copy of the Dec. 24 show and meringue was not mentioned, but it was mentioned in the Dec. 23 show, Geragos said.
Brocchini testified at Peterson’s preliminary hearing that Peterson told him part of the Dec. 24 show had “something to do with meringue.”
In dramatic fashion, Geragos played a segment of the Dec. 24 show for the jury on two plasma screens mounted in front of the jury box. During the show, Stewart discusses meringue while talking about Paris sweets.
“Oooh, we’re making meringue,” Stewart coos. The line was repeated in the defense presentation for affect.
“I played it twice just in case the Modesto PD couldn’t hear it,” Geragos said, one of several digs he directed at law enforcement.
He held aloft for the jury a brown expanding folder stacked about 10 inches thick with reports on testing done on evidence seized from Peterson’s home and warehouse during multiple searches.
“You want to know what they got out of all those tests?” Geragos asked before dropping the folder onto the counsel table with a thud. “Zip, nothing, nada - not a thing.”
A prosecution investigator, Steve Jacobson from the Stanislaus County District attorney’s office, also allegedly indicated in a sworn application for the wiretap in January 2003 that Peterson could not have killed his pregnant wife alone, Geragos said.
“Investigator Jacobson told the judge that he thinks Amber Frey has involvement in this case,” Geragos told the jury. “It was based on everything that he knew about what happened. There’s no way that one person could have done this to Laci Peterson. No way. He had declared that under penalty of perjury.”
Prosecutors have pointed to Frey, a Fresno massage therapist, as a possible motive in the case. Peterson had an affair with the woman before his wife disappeared; Frey later agreed to surreptitiously tape phone calls from Peterson.
Prosecutor Rick Distaso laid out authorities’ case in painstaking detail Tuesday, attacking Peterson’s alibi and portraying him as a serial liar.
Peterson, 31, has pleaded not guilty to charges he murdered his wife, Laci, and unborn son, Conner, on or just before Christmas Eve 2002.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.