Former Drew Peterson lawyer loses gag order challenge again in Will County

Joel Brodsky, a former attorney for convicted killer Drew Peterson, at a court hearing on Wednesday, March 6, at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet.

A Will County judge rejected a motion for the former lawyer of Drew Peterson to either vacate or modify a 2022 gag order that prohibits him from talking about his past client.

Judge Jessica Colón-Sayre issued her ruling on Wednesday following arguments between one of Joel Brodsky’s lawyers and Special Prosecutor William Elward.

Brodsky motioned to either vacate or modify the gag order that prevents him from speaking about his representation of Peterson, who was convicted in 2012 of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Brodsky’s lawyer, Joe “The Shark” Lopez, who was part of Peterson’s legal team in 2012, told Colón-Sayre that the gag order is a “wide open blanket” that violates Brodsky’s constitutional right to free speech.

“This is like sticking a sock in his mouth,” Lopez said.

During Elward’s arguments, he said, “The sock in his mouth would be a good idea.”

In court filings, Elward argued Brodsky betrayed the duty to he owes to Peterson and faces “potential lengthy incarceration in light of his blatant disregard for the sanctity of the attorney-client privilege.”

Colón-Sayre did not appear receptive to Brodsky’s motion regarding the gag order.

“Hasn’t this been litigated?” Colón-Sayre asked.

Elward said the issue had been litigated three times before. He noted once again the gag order was upheld by an appellate court in 2022.

Colón-Sayre denied Brodsky’s motion.

Special Prosecutor Bill Elward speaks on Wednesday, March 6, at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet. Elward was appointed to handle the indirect contempt of court case against Joel Brodsky, a former attorney for convicted killer Drew Peterson.

The gag order was issued by retired Will County Judge Ed Burmila in response to a WGN-TV interview of Brodsky. In the interview, Brodsky said he was considering revealing what Peterson allegedly told him about his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, who vanished in 2007.

Peterson’s new attorneys with the Will County Public Defender’s Office requested the gag order to prevent any jeopardy to their client’s 2021 post-conviction bid for a new trial.

After Brodsky participated in a NewsNation interview regarding the Peterson case, he was charged on March 1 with indirect criminal contempt of court for allegedly violating the gag order.

Brodsky, whose law license was suspended in 2019, had been serving as his own lawyer in the contempt case and he was ready to go trial on April 4. Since then, he filed six pretrial motions and retained Lopez, Adam Altman and Milan Filipovich as his lawyers.

On Wednesday, Colón-Sayre rejected five of those pretrial motions, including the one regarding the gag order. She partially denied a sixth motion regarding discovery sanctions.

The next court hearing in Brodsky’s case is scheduled for July 25. It’s not yet clear if the case will go to trial or lead to another resolution.

A ruling on Peterson’s post-conviction petition has been pending for more than two-and-half years.

On May 30, a briefing schedule set by retired Will County Judge Dave Carlson was canceled in anticipation of Peterson’s lawyers filing a motion to reconsider additional medical testing regarding Peterson’s mental fitness.

In an April 4 ruling, Carlson denied any further psychological examination of Peterson after determining no bona fide doubt existed as to Peterson’s mental fitness.

Peterson’s next hearing is set for July 9.

Drew Peterson stands with his attorney’s Jason Strzelecki and Samantha Kerins during his hearing at the Will County courthouse on Monday, April 1, 2024 in Joliet.