- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 18, 2004

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — The judge in Scott Peterson’s murder trial dismissed the jurors for the day yesterday, saying, “There’s been a potential development in this case.”

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi said the development has to be examined before the trial could go any further. He made the comments after emerging from a 45-minute meeting with attorneys.

The judge didn’t say what the development was and the attorneys are barred by a gag order from discussing it.

Judge Delucchi had said defense attorneys would begin their cross-examination of star witness Amber Frey, Mr. Peterson’s former lover, yesterday morning. The defense had even set up a big screen for a digital media presentation before the attorneys went behind closed doors.

Miss Frey is scheduled to take the stand again Monday. Three other witnesses likely will testify today, the judge said. Prosecutors are trying to show jurors that an affair with Miss Frey was Mr. Peterson’s motive for killing his pregnant wife, Laci, who vanished just before Christmas 2002.

On Tuesday, jurors heard the fifth day of phone conversations between Mr. Peterson and Miss Frey that she had taped at the request of police. In all, jurors heard 24 of the more than 200 calls that the two made to each other while authorities searched for Mrs. Peterson between late December 2002 and February 2003.

Under an order from Judge Delucchi, defense attorney Mark Geragos during cross-examination cannot ask Miss Frey about any relationships she had before or after meeting Mr. Peterson unless they were discussed on the taped conversations.

Prosecutors say Mr. Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her weighted body from a small boat into San Francisco Bay. Her badly decomposed remains and the couple’s fetus washed up along a shore in April 2003, not far from where Mr. Peterson said he launched a solo fishing trip the day she vanished.

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