Scott Peterson's one-time mistress says he never tried to stop her from going to the police

Tuesday, August 24th 2004, 9:01 am
By: News On 6

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) _ Scott Peterson's former mistress acknowledged at his murder trial Tuesday that Peterson never tried to stop her from going to police about their affair.

In his cross-examination of Amber Frey, defense attorney Mark Geragos also noted Peterson never said anything incriminating in his wiretapped phone conversations with Frey. In addition, Frey admitted Peterson never told her he loved her _ apparently refuting prosecutors' allegations of Peterson's motive for killing his pregnant wife.

Frey's testimony, which concluded Tuesday, came after jurors heard about 40 wiretapped telephone calls between Frey and Peterson.

In the phone calls, Peterson romanced Frey while denying his involvement in the disappearance of his pregnant wife Laci, and proclaiming his love for the missing woman. Frey recorded their calls for months before police told her she could stop.

``They didn't get anything incriminating on him,'' Geragos said. ``He kept telling you specifically that he didn't have anything to do with it, right?''

``There were times he said there were some things that he couldn't talk about,'' Frey replied. She told Geragos she could not remember if police told her she was not getting any useful information.

Geragos played a tape on which Peterson could be heard saying: ``I also have nothing to hide in her disappearance. And if you, you know, if you want to go to the police, that's, you know, fine.''

``He told you it was your decision, right?'' Geragos asked Frey.

``Correct,'' Frey said.

Geragos suggested Peterson's evasive answers on many of the taped telephone calls came at the advice of his attorney. In a call played for the jury, Peterson could be heard saying of his lawyer: ``He said, `You should not be talking to her.' And he said, `They are going to try to make a case against you.'''

Frey testified Peterson never told her he loved her: ``Not in those words.''

Prosecutors claim it was Peterson's love for Amber that drove him to murder his wife. The defense has sought to portray Frey as a calculated seductress and liar who was more obsessed with Peterson than he was with her.

``At the end of the day, her testimony does not make or break their case,'' former prosecutor Chuck Smith said of Frey's testimony.

Trial observer Jim Hammer, a former prosecutor, said the tapes showed Peterson is a liar but did not implicate him in the slaying. He also said Geragos was able to portray the affair ``as more of a fling than an obsession and a motive for murder.''

Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her weighted body from a boat into San Francisco Bay. The remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's unborn son washed up a few months later, not far from where Peterson claimed he had gone fishing the day he reported her missing.

His attorneys claim he was framed after the real killer learned of his widely publicized alibi.