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Saturday, July 26, 2008

[IL] Ex-Sgt. Peterson's friends were wired for sound.

...two of [ex-sgt. Drew Peterson's] closest friends say they caught it all, cooperating with State Police by wearing a wire and recording seven months of intimate conversations with the former Bolingbrook cop...

[Illinois State Police have neither confirmed or denied the claims of Len Wawczak and Paula Stark yet.]


SEARCHING FOR STACY | Drew's chilling words caught on tape
Chicago Sun-Times
By Joe Hosey
July 23, 2008
Drew Peterson likes to talk an awful lot — especially for a guy whose third wife was murdered and fourth wife is missing. And now two of his closest friends say they caught it all, cooperating with State Police by wearing a wire and recording seven months of intimate conversations with the former Bolingbrook cop. “We got him,” said Len Wawczak. Peterson mocked investigators as “idiots,” called his third wife “a bitch” whose body he should have had cremated and predicted he’d be tried and acquitted long before his fourth wife’s remains were found, Wawczak said. Wawczak, 42, said he and his wife, Paula Stark, 38, have known Peterson for about 16 years... But a few weeks after Stacy Peterson disappeared last year, the couple began to have suspicions about their longtime friend... And the next seven months would have plenty of nerve-wracking moments, the couple said... In 2004, about 12 years into Wawczak’s friendship with Peterson, Savio was found dead in a waterless bathtub, and State Police determined she was the victim of an accidental drowning.
Stark said at the time Peterson mocked the cops investigating the drowning, saying, “‘She was in a dry bathtub, what a bunch of f------ idiots’”... Wawczak recalled Peterson telling them, “‘I should have had that bitch cremated. It would have cost me less and I wouldn’t be going through this trouble’... He said he wasn’t worried about them finding Stacy’s remains down the road because he figured by that time he would have been tried and acquitted, and you can’t be tried for the same case twice because of double jeopardy or something,” Wawczak said...
Stark, who has two sons and a daughter with Wawczak, said she remained nervous throughout their clandestine work, which ceased in mid-June... Stark said Peterson asked her to run off with him. “He wanted to move to Kentucky and put a business and a house in my name in case they came to get him,” she said. “I said, ‘You plan to take me to Kentucky? You think Lenny’s going to let me go without a fight? You know how he is.’ He said, ‘Don’t make me shoot him.’” Wawczak said he had his own uncomfortable moments. He said he balked when Peterson asked him to prove his loyalty by torching a bunch of plants a neighbor assembled in memory of Stacy and sabotage a boat that was being used in searches... Wawczak and Stark declined to spell out all the conversations they helped record for State Police, but they expect the information to lead to their former friend’s arrest. “He’s done,” Wawczak said. “He’s going away”... Peterson said he never voiced wishes Savio had been cremated, talked of shooting Wawczak or asked his friend to vandalize any flower memorial or boat. “The only thing I talked about was him walking up and down and taking the ribbons off the trees” memorializing Stacy, Peterson said... [Full article here]

She's hiding in friend's basement, he's gone fishing
By Joe Hosey
July 24, 2008
[Excerpts] ...Stark and Wawczak are just looking to cash in on his misery and were sniffing around for money long before this, Peterson said Wednesday... Peterson said he was free with his money, even lending Stark $400 on one occasion. "She did that behind Lenny's back," Peterson said. Stark denied borrowing money and said she and her husband always had to foot the bill when she took Peterson's children on outings. Her mother did put the cap on eBay, Stark said, but the plan was to donate the money to the volunteer search effort to find Stacy. They never got the chance, as the Web site shut down the auction... In a statement released by Peterson's publicist, Brodsky said Stark and Wawczak broke the law if their claims about wearing a wire were true. "If Drew had made any incriminating statement to Wawczak and Stark when they were supposedly undercover agents, today's news would include their arrest for obstruction of justice," Brodsky said. "The police would never allow the disclosure of any such information in an ongoing investigation. The fact is that Drew never made any of the statements Wawczak and Stark attribute to him, period.... Stark wasn't surprised by Peterson's comments, saying he has smeared others. "It's the same with everyone who goes against him," she said... [Full article here]


    JOEL A. BRODSKY (Drew Peterson's attorney)
    July 26, 2008

    If in fact Len Wawczak and Paula Stark are undercover informants who wore an eavesdropping device on Drew Peterson with the approval of the Illinois State Police (ISP), there is one thing that is unforgivably outrageous about this. I am not worried about the contents of the recordings because (A) Drew is innocent and therefore has nothing incriminating to say, and (B) I suspected Wawczak and Stark were working for the ISP for some time, (especially after the revolver Drew legally transferred to them turned up in the hands of the ISP).

    No. what is highly disturbing is how the ISP has allowed Drew's children to be severely damaged by the behavior of these informants. What you have to understand is that wire wearing, undercover informants are closely monitored. Their tapes are reviewed constantly, and they are debriefed on a regular basis so the police can know what they are doing, approve, correct, and direct their behavior. The ISP knowingly allowed, or perhaps even directed, Wawczak and Stark to become close with the Peterson children; Tom (15), Chris (13), Anthony (4) and Lacy (3). These innocent children became very attached to Wawczak and Stark. Lacy, who needs female attention, became particularly attached to, and even loved, Paula Stark. The boys also became quite close with Len Wawczak, who's typical immature and sophomoric behavior is particularly appealing to the teenage boys.

    Now these children have to be told that it was ail an act. Wawczak and Stark really didn't love them, they were pretending. Worse they were pretending in order to trap their father, who they dearly love, in order to take him away from them. When Lacy, the beautiful 3 year old, asks for Paula, what can Drew tell her? When he tells Lacy that she won't be able to see Stark again, what will happen to that little girl? Her heart will break. When she learns that Stark was only around to work with the police to try to take her daddy away, what will she think? What about the boys. How will they ever be able to trust anyone again when they discover that Wawczak was not really interested in them, but only carne around so often to work for the police who are after their dad. The children will be psychologically scarred for life because of what Wawczak and Stark did, with the blessing, support, help, and encouragement of the Illinois State Police. What happened here is nothing less than the state sponsored psychological torture of these children.

    By law Drew has to be notified that he was being recorded shortly after the eavesdropping ends. Therefore the ISP had to know that the relationship that they were allowing, and encouraging, Wawczak and Stark to establish with the Peterson children would end in this manner. Yet they allowed this to continue, and made no provision to minimize the extreme collateral damage to the children[sic] psychological health. What were they thinking? And the question has to be asked, are there any limits to what is acceptable in the Drew Peterson investigation? Are there any limits, no matter who is hurt and what means are used? permanent psychological scars?

    Why did the ISP even use such despicable characters as Wawczak and Stark? Their background, (which is now being exposed by the media), and Wawczak's loose cannon antics, make them about as bad a choice for informants as one can make. Wawczak's own public statements show how much of an idiot he is. For example, in Wawczak's comment to the press, after his release from jail yesterday, he tried to justify his attacked[sic] on Drew in a barber shop parking lot saying that Drew gave his son a dirty look, thereby messing with his family, is about as dumb as it gets. If that is justification, then Drew should be allowed to beat Wawczak with a red hot poker for how Wawczak and Stark messed with Drew's family.

    Finally, the public needs to hold the ISP responsible for investigative techniques that severely harm innocent children The response that Drew caused this entire chain of events because of some wrongdoing on his part presumes his guilt. In the United States we do not presume guilt, we presume innocence. Whatever else you believe about him, Drew Peterson is universally acknowledged to be a great dad. Anyone who has seen him with his children can confirm this, (even the media). If you are outraged by the police sponsored psychological torture of the Peterson children, express your anger publicly. The ends do not justify the means, and it is not acceptable to harm innocent children for any reason. Not in America, not in Illinois, not in Will County, and in fact not anywhere in the world.


  2. AnonymousJuly 27, 2008

    Ex-Friend: I Posed As Woman To Snag Drew Peterson
    Len Wawczak Says He Was 'Ashley' In A Mock Online Romance With Drew Peterson
    Jul 24, 2008

    BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (CBS) -- Len Wawczak did more than just talk with his former friend Drew Peterson using a wire. CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli talked with Wawczak overnight about Peterson professing his love online to what he thought was another woman.

    When Wawczak wasn't wearing a wire to tape his former friend Drew Peterson for the police, he was often on his computer setting a different kind of trap. It involved lust and a made-up girl named Ashley.

    Peterson was boasting last winter and spring about having a secret admirer named "Ashley." In late January, Peterson said he had been talking to the mysterious "Ashley." At the time, "Ashley" was reluctant to go public with her reasons for reaching out to Peterson.

    For the first time we're learning who is the real Ashley. It is Len Wawczak.

    "He became real fond of Ashley, and Ashley would be me," he said. "I am the real Ashley. I'm the one who did the blog. I'm the one who romanced Drew. I'm the one that typed to him in that pink font, and I'm the one that said that he said he wanted to take a bite out of my cute little a**. It was me."

    Wawczak says as "Ashley," he and Peterson had an online relationship for more than two months.

    "I started talking to him in March," Wawczak said. "I don't know, according to Drew, in his own words, he fell in love with me within the first day."

    When Drew Peterson went on CNN's "Larry King Live" in April, Wawczak says he told Ashley he would show his love for her on the air.

    "He said every time he pulled on his ear, that meant he loved me," Wawczak said. "He tugged on his ear three different instances."

    Wawczak said Peterson cried crocodile tears on "Larry King."

    "Drew was trying to make it seem like poor little Lacy is without her mom and everything, and he tried to choke up some tears, and at the same time he was pulling on his ear," Wawczak said. "It was all just staged, is what I'm saying."

    During the interview, Wawczak logged on as the real Ashley and printed out instant messages he says were exchanged between Peterson and "Ashley," whose instant messaging screen name was "real ashley" and who claimed to be 29.

    Peterson: "Get my message?"
    Ashley: "Um no... what message?
    Peterson: "My Larry King message."
    Ashley: "You made me smile so big."
    Peterson: "That was my intention."

    Then Ashley seeks to clarify: "We're talking about you pulling on your earlobe to say you love me correct?"

    Peterson: "Yep."

    Wawczak says he and his wife decided to cooperate with police because they became suspicious of their former friend about two weeks after Stacy disappeared. He said going undercover was difficult, and at times, he and his wife would leave the Peterson home only to find the car covered in spit.

    Wawczak had maintained blog entitled "Justice Soon for Kathleen and Stacy," and in the most recent entry, said he was "Ashley." He signed the post, " "Happy Birthday Joel - Love Ashley/Lenny - Hugs & Kisses :-)," referring to Peterson's attorney, Joel Brodsky.

    The blog shows numerous screen shots of instant message sessions between "real ashley" and purportedly Peterson, some of which have sexually suggestive content. The blog also shows a shirtless photograph of Peterson, and several profiles from adult dating Web sites which are suggested in the blog to be Peterson's.

    There were also a screen shot of an e-mail in which Peterson purportedly claimed to be going on the Oprah Winfrey Show and hoped to propose to "Ashley" on the air.

    Peterson's attorney says his client did correspond with "Ashley." He says some of what is on the blog is true, but a lot more is fabricated.


  3. Judge: Authorities have done electronic surveillance on Drew Peterson
    But what was recorded is still sealed; ex-cop's lawyers had sought the information
    By Erika Slife | Chicago Tribune reporter
    September 19, 2008

    Drew Peterson shows up for a pretrial hearing at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet. Peterson's legal team sought to gain information regarding any electronic surveillance that police may have conducted on him. (Tribune photo by John Smierciak / September 18, 2008)

    A Will County judge on Thursday said he is in possession of an "extensive" number of CDs, DVDs and tapes related to the surveillance of former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson, the suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife.

    Judge Richard Schoenstedt made the disclosure at a pretrial hearing where Peterson's legal team sought to gain information regarding any electronic surveillance that police may have conducted on him.

    Peterson, 54, was in court facing felony gun charges for allegedly possessing a modified assault rifle with a barrel of less than 16 inches in violation of state law. Authorities seized the rifle after search warrants were executed as part of the investigation into the Oct. 28 disappearance of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy. She was 23 at the time she vanished.

    Authorities are also re-examining the death of Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, who, at 40, was found dead in an empty bathtub in her Bolingbrook home in 2004.

    Peterson has not been charged in either case and maintains his innocence.

    On Thursday, Schoenstedt's remarks confirmed for the first time that authorities have secretly recorded Peterson as part of their investigation.

    But what type of surveillance authorities carried out was not discussed in open court. The information is under seal, and Schoenstedt did not elaborate beyond saying the amount was extensive. Afterward, Peterson's attorneys declined to comment further.

    "I really can't get into the details of what's printed in that list. But I would say that, if I'm police and I'm investigating a gun case like this, electronic surveillance is not going to play a big part in my investigation," Peterson's attorney Joel Brodsky said.

    In July, Peterson's former friends, Len Wawczak and Paula Stark, went public with claims that they wore a wire and recorded conversations with Peterson about both cases regarding his wives. Law-enforcement officials had never confirmed their statements.

    In court, Brodsky and his fellow attorney, Andrew Abood, also argued a series of motions related to the gun charges. The Will County state's attorney's office had requested a gag order, which Peterson's attorneys successfully blocked. They also won the right to interview Bolingbrook police about whether Peterson used the rifle as a secondary duty weapon, which he claims.

    But they were unsuccessful in their motion to bar the department's rules and regulations from trial, although Schoenstedt said rulings on motions could be revisited. Another motion to be discussed at a later date is whether testimony from Peterson's son, Stephen, will be excluded at trial. Peterson allegedly transferred the gun to his son, an Oak Brook police officer, according to the indictment.

    The next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23 to discuss jury selection. Peterson's attorneys are considering requesting a change of venue, believing he may not get a fair trial in Will County.

    The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 8.




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