Scott Peterson's attorney did not stiff a Chico consultant connected to Mo-desto's best-known murder case, a judge ruled last week.
Edward J. Bronson, a nationally recognized jury consultant, failed to prove he had been hired by Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos, a Butte County Superior Court judge decided.
Bronson's lawsuit "was meritless," Geragos said Wednesday. "It's poetic justice that (Bronson) recovered absolutely nothing since he did absolutely nothing, except to inject himself gratuitously into the case."
Bronson had sued Geragos for more than $5,000, contending that Geragos strung him along in telephone conversations about the Peterson camp's attempt to move the trial away from Modesto. Bronson previously worked on the Unabomber case, the Oklahoma City bombing and the San Francisco dog-mauling involuntary manslaughter case.
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Geragos succeeded in moving Peterson's trial to Redwood City. Jurors there sent Peterson to death row after convicting him of killing his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner, just before Christmas 2002.
Bronson contended that Geragos' promises prevented Bronson from accepting ABC commentary work on the highly publicized case, which spawned multiple books and made-for-TV movies.
But the judge last week wrote, "Even under (Bronson's) version of the facts, the discussions were of a preliminary nature and were not sufficiently definite to constitute a legally binding agreement."
Bronson presented correspondence from Geragos' office, indicating a consulting deal related to moving the trial, Bronson contended. Geragos told the judge during last week's hearing that he had forwarded documents "as a professional courtesy" with no strings attached, Bronson said Wednesday.
"With a straight face, very cleverly and convincingly, (Geragos) lied," Bronson said.
Through representatives, Geragos twice had offered to settle Bronson's small-claims lawsuit, Bronson said. He refused without discussing terms because "it was a matter of principle with me," Bronson said.
"My solace is that I assume he spent about as much or more defending the case than if he'd paid my initial bill," Bronson said.
Bronson initially won a $5,112 judgment against the well-known attorney, but Geragos appealed June 29.
Two months ago, a former FBI agent who helped Geragos on the Peterson case sued him with a similar breach-of-contract complaint. Geragos' payments to Carl W. Jensen were nearly $35,000 less than what was owed for his private investigation work on the sensational case, Jensen's attorney said.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at 578-2390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.