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Than Fiction:
Trial Commentary

Peterson Case


"I knew before we started filming that the District Attorney would argue that Michael Peterson had had some gay affairs. But they were the only 'revelations' I truly knew."
-- Lestrade


Jean-Xavier was incredibly insightful to have known so quickly that Peterson's extramarital affairs with men would play out as startling revelations in the murder case -- and in his movie. However, assuming Mr. Lestrade is telling us the truth, his knowledge that the gay affairs would eventually be revealed is proof that Peterson's affairs were indeed concealed -- a fact that contradicts his many statements that Michael's "bisexuality" was common knowledge.

During a pre-trial interview on Court-TV, defense attorney Rudolf made several statements in direct opposition to the documentary's suggestion that Peterson's secret sex life was actually out in the open. Rudolf said:

"I don't expect there to be any evidence of that, and, uh -- I will just tell you, without commenting about what is or is not on the computer, that there is no evidence that Michael Peterson was having any kind of relationship, male or female -- uh, or transgendered -- with anyone, at the time of Kathleen's death or at any point years before that. So, I'll let you figure out what the relevance is... I can't."

The statement is unequivocal.

Peterson -- through his high-profile, high-powered, highly paid attorney, FLATLY DENIED having anything but a perfect marriage to his soulmate. Clearly, he was trying to hide his activities. There was no acknowledgment of military porn sites, hookers, or an "open marriage" from Michael or his attorneys. They denied it for weeks in front of the jury, hoping to portray Peterson as Kathleen's perfect husband and "soulmate."

In truth, although several of his male lovers were located during the investigation, no information regarding Peterson's many gay affairs was ever "argued" before the jury. The only revelations to come into the trial concerning Peterson's private sex life, was the testimonial evidence about his intense, internet sex and hooker activity in the months before Kathleen Peterson's murder.

prostitute, Brent Wolgamott

Jean-Xavier's Motive

Lestrade laments, "the defendant's sexuality had nothing to do with Kathleen's death. So why did the prosecution put it into the trial?"

During a pre-trial evidentiary hearing, not long after making his Court-TV statement, David Rudolf confidently withdrew his motion to exclude computer evidence of Peterson's involvement with male prostitutes. "Let's just deal with it in jury selection," Rudolf scowled. "If he wants to engage in gay bashing, he can do it."

Jury selection is the time for defense lawyers to remove any small-minded bigots from their panel, and after an extensive voir dire process, Mr. Rudolf expressed confidence in his Durham jury.

If, years before the trial, Mr. Lestrade "truly knew" of bisexual revelations that would eventually be used to prejudice people against Michael -- then he truly knew Michael was headed for disaster when the trial started and Michael's attorney gave an opening statement describing the Peterson's idyllic, storybook marriage.

At that point, and for weeks afterward, Lestrade had no story of a persecuted bisexual, because David Rudolf and his client vehemently denied it.

It wasn't until mid August 2003, a month and a half after Rudolf's ridiculous opening remarks, that Peterson's hookers and porn were deemed germane to the proceedings.

Lestrade well knows it was Judge Hudson, not the prosecution, that "put it into the trial," and Hudson did so because of the fictions Peterson and his attorneys were trying to sell the jury.

Hudson ruled:
"This evidence offered by the state is relevant. It goes to the issue of motive. It also goes to the apparently idyllic marriage that the defendant has set forth through his counsel in his opening statement. The court at this time finds that the probative value outweighs the prejudicial effect."

Speaking to reporters, Kathleen Peterson's sister, Candace Zamperini put into focus what Lestrade's cameras try so hard to blur: "This is not about sexual orientation, this is about truth and faith and love in a family."

The Elizabeth Ratliff Murder