~I'M INNOCENT~
December 3, 2003

Scott Peterson pleaded not guilty this morning to charges of murdering his pregnant wife
and their unborn son, and a judge scheduled a Jan. 26 jury trial.


“That’s correct, your honor,” Peterson told Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge
Al Girolami. “I am innocent.”


Girolami refused to lift a broad-based gag order and to release previously sealed arrest
and search warrant affidavits that presumably lay out authorities’ case against
the 31-year-old former fertilizer salesman.


The judge agreed to release to Peterson’s family the $15,000 in cash that the defendant had
when
arrested in April, and his pickup that was seized Dec. 27. Both are needed to ease
financial strain of paying for his defense, his attorney,
Mark Geragos of Los Angeles,
has said. Arguing unsuccessfully to keep the truck in police custody, prosecutor
Rick Distaso
revealed that Peterson’s blood was found on a door jamb, a visor and a “map pocket.”


Seated away from the defendant’s table was previous co-defense counsel Kirk McAllister,
whose help was “limited for purposes of the preliminary hearing,” Geragos explained.
Peterson had retained McAllister when he came under suspicion in January.


The 11-day preliminary hearing ended two weeks ago with Girolami ordering Peterson to stand trial.

The bodies of Laci and Conner Peterson were recovered in April along the shore of San Francisco
Bay less than two miles from where Scott Peterson said he fished alone Christmas Eve.
Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty, contend that he drove his
wife’s body in his truck to the bay after killing her Dec. 23 or 24.


Upcoming court dates include:
-Arguments Dec. 12 regarding jury surveys to detect bias;
-Arguments Jan. 6 regarding a defense request to move the trial in an attempt to find unbiased jurors;
-And a defense motion Jan. 7 to reverse Girolami’s ruling from the preliminary hearing.


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