Scott Peterson Trial
Pool via Getty Images
Scott Peterson sits in the Stanislaus County Courthouse in a January file photo.
updated 2/26/2004 2:45:08 PM ET 2004-02-26T19:45:08

Scott Peterson is free to sell his story to the movies or make book deals, a judge ruled over the objections of Peterson’s slain wife’s mother.

Separately, another judge ruled Thursday that the jury at Peterson’s murder trial will not be sequestered, despite warnings from the defense about the public’s fascination with the case.

Peterson, 31, is accused of killing his wife, Laci, and unborn child in December 2002 and could get the death penalty if convicted. Jury selection is expected to begin next week.

Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson’s mother, asked the court to keep any payments from commercial use of Peterson’s story in a trust account until a verdict is reached.

Superior Court Judge Roger Beauchesne said Wednesday’s ruling was tentative and could be changed. He gave Rocha’s attorney 20 days to return to court with new arguments.

“It’s a minor setback to victims’ rights, but it’s certainly not the final word on the issue.” said Adam Stewart, Rocha’s lawyer.

Peterson lawyer Matt Geragos would not say whether his client is negotiating the sale of his story, but he argued that Peterson should be permitted to make such deals even if he is convicted.

Meanwhile, the judge overseeing the murder case, Alfred A. Delucchi, ruled Thursday: “The jury will be permitted to go home every night with an admonishment, and we’ll see what happens.”

Peterson’s lawyer in the criminal case, Mark Geragos, called it “almost a childlike belief” that jurors would not seek out news coverage or conversations about the high-profile trial.

The judge also denied Geragos’ request for two juries — one to decide whether Peterson is guilty, and one that would sentence him if convicted.

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