Scott Peterson Legal Analyst Gagged

Bump and Update: Lawyer and legal commentator Michael Cardoza has been ordered "gagged" by the judge in the Scott Peterson trial. Cardoza prepped Scott Peterson for a potential cross-examination last week and announced it to the media--the Judge says his involvement at the request of Mark Geragos created an attorney-client relationship. Of course it did. What was Cardoza thinking? Will he now become an offical member of the team? Will he trade his paid consulting gig for an unpaid defense consulting one?

Cardoza has sat through most if not all of the four month trial. For naught, it now turns out. He won't be able to comment on critical parts--closings, deliberation and verdict.


Original Post: 10/19 11 am

The defense began presenting its case in the Scott Peterson trial yesterday. The bigger news seems to be that Michael Cardoza, a former prosecutor who has been providing legal commentary on the case--and who has been highly critical of the prosecution's case--told the media that he met with Scott Peterson twice this past week, at the request of Mark Geragos to help the defense decide whether Scott should testify. He said he met Peterson for a few hours last week and then on Sunday, conducted a mock cross-examination of Peterson for Geragos.

So, here are the issues. Does the gag order imposed on all counsel and investigators and others involved in the case now apply to Cardoza? Did he just bench himself from commenting further?

And, since Cardozo insists he is not representing Scott Peterson, does this mean that mean Scott has no attorney-client privilege with respect to his conversations with Cardoza and that the prosecution can now subpoena Cardoza? One former prosecutor thinks so.

Does Cardoza thinks he now qualifies as defense expert along the lines of Henry Lee or Cyril Wecht who were called in to consult but not retained as a member of the team? Does that term even apply to a lawyer who is called in to help prepare a client for cross-examination?

Cardoza acnowledges he was brought in by Geragos to conduct a "mock cross-examination" of Peterson. It's done all the time. There's nothing wrong with it. But how does Cardoza continue to pass himself off as an uninterested, unbiased commentator on the case?

According to a reporter (not lawyer) on Fox News last night, Cardoza reportedly has a pre-existing friendship with the Judge--and gets a special seat in the courtroom. All the other reporters and analysts get their seats by lottery each day. Cardoza's is always there. Did he clear his role with the Judge first...ensuring he wouldn't be gagged or subpoenaed?

Will the networks and other media outlets want to use Cardoza any more? Or will he now be viewed as in the defense camp? The commentators on Greta's Fox show last night were unananimous in their belief that Cardozo should be gagged, that Scott has no attorney client privilege with respect to any comments he made to Cardoza, and that Cardoza has lost his commenting credibility. Are they right, or just expressing sour grapes because they weren't chosen by Geragos?

The San Francisco Chronicle today reports:

Several media outlets, including The Chronicle, said they would no longer use Cardoza as a legal analyst on the Peterson case.

There's a big difference between being a commenting as an analyst and as a player in the case. I'm just surprised Cardozo crossed the line.

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