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Former attorney for Drew Peterson sues, claims current lawyer defamed him in letter to media

A public quarrel between one former and one current attorney for Drew Peterson over who is to blame for the suburban Chicago police officer's murder conviction has escalated again.

Joel Brodsky, Peterson's lead trial attorney who has since stepped down from the legal team, filed a 31-page defamation lawsuit this week that hurls bitter denunciations wrapped in legalese at Steve Greenberg, a co-counsel at the trial who is still representing Peterson. Peterson was convicted in September.

The burgeoning feud comes weeks before a Will County judge is set to rule on a defense motion for a new trial based on allegations of Brodsky's inadequate representation. If the judge rejects the motion, Peterson would immediately be sentenced for killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Peterson is also suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wide, Stacy Peterson, though he has never been charged.

Brodsky's lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Cook County Court, singles out a letter Greenberg released to the media in September accusing Brodsky of "single-handedly" losing the trial. The letter provides an unflattering account of Brodsky's leadership at trial, saying he insisted on other lawyers calling him "coach."

The lawsuit says Greenberg "developed animus, hatred and resentment of Brodsky which caused him to ignore the best interest of Peterson and become irrationally fixated and obsessed with destroying Brodsky."

Greenberg developed a grudge, it says, because Brodsky told him to stop appearing on national TV shows during the trial.

The alleged defamation by Greenberg, the suit claims, held Brodsky up to "great public scorn, hatred, contempt, ridicule, humiliation, distress, anguish, anxiety, disgrace, and suffer great injury to his dignity, honor, personal and reputation ..."

In his Sept. 24 letter, Greenberg hit equally hard.

"You wafted the greatest case by ignorance, obduracy and ineptitude," Greenberg wrote. "Your effort to blame me is suggestive of a six-year-old child changing the rules of the game when he falls behind. ... You are nothing more than a bully."

The lawsuit also names the Chicago Tribune and AOL's Patch news website, both of which closely covered the yawning rift between Brodsky and Greenberg that started just hours after the trial ended.

The Tribune didn't have an immediate comment. AOL Patch didn't return a message seeking comment.

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Follow Michael Tarm at www.twitter.com/mtarm

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