Missing wife didn't faze him

Tue, August 17, 2004

SCOTT PETERSON still pursued his former mistress even a week after his wife disappeared, according to telephone recordings played in court yesterday at his double-murder trial in California. As Peterson's lies unravelled and the mistress, Amber Frey, questioned him about the disappearance, Peterson was apologetic but evasive about his untruths.

Jurors heard Frey pressing Peterson on how she could ever trust him again.

"I can only hope that that's a possibility," he tells her.

"We can have a relationship, and I can have the hope for it and hope you'll trust me without ever having to ask you anything," Peterson says.

Yesterday was the fourth day jurors listened to the recordings, taped by Frey at the request of police in the days after the pregnant Laci Peterson vanished.

On the tape, Frey asks Peterson to appear before the media to plead for his wife's safe return and to state his innocence.

"If there's any truth in what you say in what you tell me about you and I, then you will do this for us," Frey tells him.

At one point, as Frey presses him about hiding the affair, it appears Peterson accuses her of being involved in Laci's disappearance.

"You know, Scott, when people find out, and they will, no one will think your behaviour is innocent," Frey says.

"I had nothing to do with this ... and I just, you know, I hope that you ... are not ... involved to any degree," Peterson replies.

"How ... back up! ... Back up to that statement," Frey says angrily.

Peterson backtracks. "You know, what I mean by that is obviously you're not involved ... but I mean I don't want ... you to have any repercussions from people," Peterson says.

Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then drove to the San Francisco Bay and dumped her weighted body from a small boat he had purchased weeks earlier. The badly decomposed remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's fetus washed ashore in April 2003, not far from where Peterson said he launched a solo fishing trip the day she vanished.