updated 10/20/2004 4:40:33 PM ET 2004-10-20T20:40:33

A lawyer used as a legal analyst by several television networks covering the Scott Peterson trial was placed under a gag order Wednesday after the judge learned he had coached the defendant through a mock cross-examination.

Michael Cardoza, a former prosecutor, met twice with Peterson in his jail cell, coaching him at the request of his lawyers.

“The court is of the opinion that an attorney-client privilege was indeed created by the arrangement between defense counsel and Mr. Cardoza, so the court has imposed a gag order on Mr. Cardoza,” Judge Alfred Delucchi said.

Cardoza said he met once last week and once Sunday with Peterson, 31, at the request of defense lawyer Mark Geragos, but that he received no money. Defense lawyers began their case this week; Peterson could face the death penalty if convicted.

It is widely believed Geragos will not call Peterson to testify. However, it is common practice for criminal defense attorneys to use other lawyers to put their clients through questions they would likely face.

Cardoza, who gained a national profile representing the partner of a San Francisco woman fatally mauled by her neighbors’ dogs, said he gave NBC, Fox and CNN advance notice of his work with the defense team.

Cardoza is a regular commentator on NBC’s “Today” show, CNN’s “Larry King Live” and the local Fox affiliate KTVU.

NBC News is a partner with Microsoft in MSNBC.

“Ethically, I thought, ‘I need to tell people this,’” Cardoza said Tuesday.

KTVU news director Ed Chapuis said he didn’t hear of the side job until Cardoza described it in an impromptu news conference Monday.

Cardoza said he still considered himself unbiased, despite getting “privileged information” from the defense. “I consider myself as objective as I was before,” he said.

Cardoza said Wednesday, however, he couldn’t comment at all, for anyone.

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