CHICAGO – A friend of Drew Peterson said she decided to wear a wire to tape conversations with the former police sergeant because of the way he acted after his fourth wife went missing last October.
Paula Stark told "Good Morning America" Thursday that she her husband have proof they taped conversations with Peterson, and she doesn't doubt he's somehow involved in Stacy Peterson's disappearance — as well as the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Stark says Illinois State Police told her "it was fine" for the couple to tell media about the taped conversations.
She also says she's worried about Peterson's four children, the older two of which have been called to testify before a grand jury investigating both Stacy Peterson's and Savio's cases.
Meanwhile, Drew Peterson said he's confident he never said anything to friends who claim they wore a wire and taped conversations with him that links him to the disappearance of his fourth wife and slaying of his third wife.
"My thing is ... if they recorded me for seven months it's going to clear me more than it's going to hurt me," the former Bolingbrook police sergeant told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Peterson, who has been named a suspect in the October disappearance of his wife, Stacy, would not discuss specific statements made by Paula Stark and her husband Len Wawczak in Wednesday's Chicago Sun-Times.
But he said of the couple's contention that, among other things, he'd wished aloud he'd cremated his third wife's remains and asked them to set fire to a memorial to his missing wife, "If I said anything close to that, it was taken out of context."
Stark and Wawczak told the newspaper that they secretly recorded conversations they'd had with Peterson, whom they'd known for 16 years, after being contacted by the Illinois State Police in mid-November. They said they continued recording conversations through mid-June.
Neither the state police nor the Will County State's Attorney's office would comment about the couple's account. A man who answered the phone Wednesday at a listing for Wawczak said the couple was not home.
Peterson's attorney, Joel Brodsky, said he doesn't know if there are any tapes, but said if there are, he also is confident Peterson said nothing incriminating on them.
"We kind of say, if there are tapes of everything Drew said for the last 8 months, bring it on," Brodsky told the AP. "Even if they did some minor wiring for the state police a couple of times there's certainly nothing incriminating on there."
Brodsky also said Peterson told the attorney he never said some of the things the couple attributed to him, including their contention that he'd told them he wishes he'd had Kathleen Savio's body cremated. Brodsky also said Peterson told him he never asked Wawczak to set fire some to a memorial to Stacy Peterson that a neighbor had erected or sabotage a boat that had been used to search for her.
In 2004, Savio's body was found in a waterless bathtub. Her death was classified as accidental. Her body was exhumed after Stacy Peterson vanished and, after an autopsy, authorities reclassified the death as a homicide. Peterson has not been named a suspect by authorities, but family members of Savio have said they believe Peterson was involved with her death.
Brodsky also dismissed some of what Stark and Wawczak said as ridiculous, particularly their comments that Peterson told them he wasn't worried Stacy Peterson's remains would be found because he believed he would have been already tried and acquitted by then.
"That's a great plan," Brodsky said sarcastically. "Talk about your mastermind criminal. Lex Luther, stand aside."
Both Peterson and Brodsky also questioned the couple's motives, and wondered if they were looking for a big payday.
"The bottom line is these people are having severe financial problems," Peterson said. "Lenny quit his job and they're losing their house," adding that when he learned they were talking to the media he thought it was to drum up attention so they could sell their story later.
Peterson said the couple had, in fact, asked him for money and became angry when he would not lend it to them.
"They were asking for thousands," he said.
He said they already have trying to cash in, saying that after he signed a hat given to him by one of the many television programs he's appeared on and gave it to Stark, "The next thing I know it's on eBay..."
In fact, in May, WBBM Radio in Chicago reported that a Today show cap signed by Peterson was on the auction site.
Brodsky acknowledged that Peterson did give the couple a revolver after the state police pulled his gun owner's permit, just as he gave other guns to other people on Brodsky's advice because without a permit, it would have been illegal to possess the guns. Peterson never tried to conceal from authorities that he'd done so, Brodsky said.