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Laci Peterson case: Scott Peterson's ex-mistress testifies

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Editor's Note: As part of CNN.com's new Crime section, we are archiving some of the most interesting content from CourtTVNews.com. This story was first published in 2004.

(Court TV) -- Scott Peterson's former mistress, Amber Frey, took the stand at his capital murder trial Tuesday and portrayed the fertilizer salesman as an attentive, but deceitful lover who wooed her with over-the-top romantic gestures while concealing his marriage from her.

Frey said Peterson bought her gifts, made her dinner, doted on her daughter and even caressed her face with rose petals and soft kisses, but never once mentioned his pregnant wife, Laci -- even after she mysteriously vanished.

"At any time did the defendant ever tell you that he was married?" prosecutor Dave Harris asked.

"No," Frey said.

"Ever tell you that he lived in Modesto?" Harris asked.

"No," she said.

"Ever tell you he had a child on the way?" the prosecutor asked.

"No," she said.

The massage therapist turned star prosecution witness clicked across the packed courtroom in two-inch black stiletto heels at 9:28 a.m. and spent about four hours detailing her six-week whirlwind relationship with Peterson.

Her highly anticipated testimony will continue Wednesday morning and could stretch two weeks.

Among the most damaging evidence she offered Tuesday were surreptitious recordings of phone conversations with Peterson after his wife disappeared. On the tapes played for jurors, Peterson pretends he is calling from France, even faking bad international connections and complaining about the time difference. In reality, he was in Modesto, where police and hundreds of volunteers were scouring parks and lakes for the mother-to-be.

Her remains and those of the son she was carrying ultimately washed up on the San Francisco Bay shore.

In one call made minutes before the start of a Dec. 31, 2002, candlelight vigil for the missing woman, an upbeat-sounding Peterson informs Frey that he is ringing in the New Year at a Paris bar with his friends "Pasqual" and "Francois."

"It's pretty awesome. Fireworks there at the Eiffel Tower. A mass of people all playing American pop songs," Peterson said.

In another call, he told her the Parisian celebration was so festive it was "unreal."

She also testified that on Dec. 23, 2002, the day police believe Peterson murdered his wife, he told her that he wanted them to meet with a doctor to discuss having a vasectomy.

Prosecutors have suggested Peterson killed the 27-year-old, who was eight months' pregnant, because he secretly dreaded the demands of fatherhood and wanted to pursue a relationship with Frey.

Wearing a fitted black suit, cream blouse and silver cross necklace, Frey made eye contact with her former paramour only once: when Harris asked her to point him out in the courtroom.

Frey turned her bleached blond head slightly and pointed across the courtroom to the defense table where Peterson, wearing a gray suit, powder blue shirt and navy striped tie, sat between his lawyers. He returned her gaze for a moment and then looked down at the table.

Frey began her testimony by describing how her best friend, Shawn Sibley, set her up with Peterson in November 2002, about six weeks before Laci Peterson vanished.

"What was your understanding about whether he was married?" Harris asked.

"That he was not," Frey said.

Frey said that in their first phone conversation Peterson asked her if she was intelligent. Harris asked her how she answered.

Frey bit her lip and then said, "I thought I was intelligent and ..." Her voice trailed off.

Their first date, on Nov. 20, included pre-dinner champagne in Peterson's hotel room. She recalled that he brought a container of strawberries and plunked one in her flute.

"I remember eating one, and they were a little bit sour," she said.

Frey said Peterson was "cheerful" and attentive and they talked about "everything."

"He was easy-going. He was easy to talk to. He made me feel comfortable," Frey said.

"Was he behaving as a gentleman at this point in time?" Harris asked.

"Yes," Frey said.

She said he was exceptionally romantic from the start. She said he secured them a private dining room at a Japanese restaurant, and they talked until the establishment closed.

They then went to a nearby karaoke bar, where he convinced her to sing a duet with him. She did not say what the song was.

At the karaoke bar, she said, they slow-danced and kissed. They returned to Peterson's hotel room and were intimate. The next morning, she said, she told him she was concerned they had slept together too soon, but he assured her it was fine.

Peterson told her that he was going on a fishing trip in Alaska over Thanksgiving and would phone her from the road. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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