"It is obvious that if the wealthy, famous, white writer Michael Peterson hadn't been bisexual, the case would never have come to court."
-- Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
Along with documenting history, Jean-Xavier seems determined to revise it, by playing fast and loose with the actual order of events leading up to Michael Peterson's conviction for first degree murder.
In an attempt to make a film about homophobic State authorities prosecuting a man merely because he's gay, Lestrade amazingly omits two years of Peterson's repeated denials of being gay -- or bisexual, or of having engaged in extramarital affairs of any sort.
Perhaps the filmmaker truly believes Durham's police department, District Attorney's office and courthouses, are all made up of anti-gay, right-wingers. Perhaps. But Jean-Xavier knows Mike Peterson wasn't charged with killing a gay lover -- he was charged with killing his wife.
Presumably Peterson's sexual orientation is not a relevant part of the story.
Yet, after diligently searching for a worthy project, Peterson's sex life was the very thing that started Lestrade's cameras rolling on what was -- according to Peterson -- an ordinary, albeit tragic, accidental fall down the stairs.
Lestrade explains: "I learnt about the case three weeks after Kathleen's death but I had been looking for something like it for three months. Why did I chose it? Because I had a very strong feeling that Michael Peterson was prosecuted not because the DA could show that he murdered his wife but because he was bi-sexual (ie a bad person) and that, as every one knows, when you live this kind of life it always ends up with a tragedy (that at least was the DA's point of view)."
Clearly, if Peterson hadn't been bisexual, the case would never have become a documentary.
"David Rudolf was convinced that Kathleen and Michael were deeply in love," says Lestrade "and because he could not find any relevant motive he believed that Michael Peterson was innocent."
Peterson's pursuit of gay sex is not, in and of itself, a motive for a murder -- or a movie. After all, no one but a husband and wife know what special arrangements and agreements make up their marriage. Kathleen Peterson was far from conservative politically, and she was known to have attended Durham's gay pride parades. It's not inconceivable that she knew about some of Michael's bisexual activities.
Lestrade says he's "convinced that Kathleen was aware of Michael Peterson's gay affairs." He insists Michael's sons knew about their dad's sexual affairs, "so it was not so hidden."
Since Mrs. Peterson is dead, we'll have to take Mr. Peterson's word for it -- and in the months preceding the trial, Michael insisted there were no gay affairs.
When his magazine ad solicitations for gay military men and other incontestable pieces of evidence were unearthed, Michael explained that it was all research for a new book he was writing. (No actual notes for a book on gays in the military were ever produced by Peterson's defense team.)