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Peterson's Attorney Tries to Discredit Frey

Mark Geragos attempts to portray witness as an obsessive girlfriend in an apparent effort to cast doubt on the alleged motive in the case.

August 24, 2004|Anna Gorman | Times Staff Writer

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Scott Peterson's defense attorney tried to discredit the prosecution's star witness Monday, accusing her of withholding information from Modesto detectives.

"Did you ever make or receive calls to Scott Peterson that you didn't immediately tell detectives about?" attorney Mark Geragos asked his client's former girlfriend, Amber Frey.

But Frey, a Fresno massage therapist, insisted that she did not hide anything from police and that she turned over all of the phone calls she secretly recorded at their direction.

Last week, jurors heard hours of recorded calls between Frey and Peterson.

Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife, Laci, on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her body from a small boat into San Francisco Bay.

The remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's unborn son washed ashore in April 2003, not far from where Peterson said he went fishing the day he reported her missing.

During nearly three hours of questioning, Geragos attempted to portray Frey as an obsessive girlfriend who called Peterson 14 times in one day to thank him for a holiday gift. Legal observers said he was trying to attack the alleged motive, that Peterson killed his wife to be with his new girlfriend.

Frey answered questions confidently, looking Geragos straight in the eye.

But some of her answers were evasive and, at least once, inconsistent with what she earlier told detectives.

The cross-examination began with a joke, when Geragos told the judge he had no questions and then said quickly, "Just kidding," prompting muffled laughter in the packed courtroom.

Frey also said she became suspicious of Peterson once he gave her a post office box as his address and that she searched the Internet to try to learn more about him.

A friend who was a police officer also offered to do a background check on Peterson. She went to police on Dec. 30.

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