REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Lawyers in Scott Peterson's (search) murder trial Wednesday argued over previous testimony that defense attorneys said shows a detective lied on the stand.
Judge Alfred A. Delucchi had planned to discuss a motion on that issue and other matters behind closed doors, but appeals from media lawyers resulted in a public debate.
In the process, Delucchi revealed in court -- without the jury present -- two topics at issue: whether a detective fabricated parts of his testimony and the admissibility of television interviews Peterson took part in before his arrest.
The judge deferred a decision, instead scheduling a future hearing to discuss whether lawyers could argue their positions publicly without revealing sensitive information. He has been inclined to discuss such motions out of the public eye.
Delucchi said one motion concerned a tip that police received saying that Peterson allegedly once commented that he would dispose of a body by sinking it to the ocean floor.
Last month, Modesto police detective Allen Brocchini testified he received the tip from a man who claimed Peterson made the comment in 1995. The tip was received the day after Peterson was arrested, and several days after Laci Peterson's (search) body surfaced.
The detective said he didn't consider the tip credible and didn't follow up on it as police got closer to arresting Peterson.
He also said the tipster alleged Peterson would "tie a bag around the neck with duct tape" -- a potentially damaging assertion because police said duct tape was found on Laci Peterson's badly decomposed torso.
But a source who has heard a tape of Brocchini's phone interview with the tipster told The Associated Press the man never mentioned anything about duct tape, implying Brocchini made it up on the stand or misspoke.
On Wednesday in court, defense lawyer Mark Geragos (search) called Brocchini's testimony an "intentional and willful violation."
Prosecutors allege Peterson murdered his pregnant wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped the weighted-down body in San Francisco Bay.
Police arrested Peterson after the remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's fetus washed up in April 2003 near where he claims to have gone fishing alone on the bay that Christmas Eve morning.
Defense lawyers have theorized Peterson was framed by someone who knew his widely reported alibi.
Jurors were expected to return Wednesday afternoon for testimony from a detective who gathered forensic evidence that authorities contend links Peterson to the murder.