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Prosecutors oppose venue change for Scott Peterson

Scott Peterson,, left, and his attorney Mark Geragos, seen in a court appearance last month.
Scott Peterson,, left, and his attorney Mark Geragos, seen in a court appearance last month.

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(CNN) -- Prosecutors asked a judge Friday to reject Scott Peterson's request to move his upcoming trial away from his hometown of Modesto, California, saying that any adverse publicity in the murder case is the fault of the defendant and his attorneys.

District Attorney Jim Brazelton and Deputy District Attorney D.A. David Harris submitted a written motion with the Stanislaus County Superior Court, objecting to a request for a change of venue submitted by the defense a month ago.

"The defense has fueled the interest of the media with accusations of Satanist involvement and a 'mystery women' (sic) witness," the prosecution wrote in the 20-page argument.

"It would be absurd to reward the defense by granting a change of venue for their conduct that has caused much of the publicity of which they complain."

The prosecutors also maintain it was Peterson who "stirred the media's interest by dodging questions and speaking fondly of his mistress. ... The defense makes much of the fact that the media has referred to the defendant as an adulterer, but it was the defendant who admitted it on national television."

Peterson, 31, is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his 27-year-old wife, Laci, and their unborn son. The couple lived in Modesto.

In April, the bodies of Laci and the child washed up on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, just miles from where Scott Peterson said he had been fishing. He was arrested days later in San Diego and brought back to Modesto to face murder charges.

Prosecuting attorneys agreed with the contention made by defense attorney Mark Geragos that pretrial publicity has been "widespread and pervasive."

But they used that to argue that moving the trial would serve no purpose, because the defense "has failed to prove that jurors in any other county would view this case differently."

The prosecution asks the court to proceed with jury selection and question potential jurors about their opinions through the process of "voir dire," which allows prosecutors and defense attorneys to reject potential jurors because of a perceived bias.

This procedure, the motion states, "will allow the court to determine with accuracy whether a fair and impartial jury can be selected."

Geragos, who also represents singer Michael Jackson in unrelated child molestation charges, has said he would like Peterson's trial moved to the Los Angeles area where the attorney practices.

Judge Al Girolami is to hear oral arguments on the change-of-venue motion Thursday. Jury selection is to begin January 26, but could be delayed.


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