Scott Peterson remains “cautiously optimistic” that he could be granted a new trial and fight convictions that he killed his pregnant wife and their unborn son, a defense lawyer said Thursday.
Attorney Pat Harris is pinning hopes for a new trial on allegations of juror misconduct and new evidence he believes could exonerate the Modesto fertilizer salesman, convicted in 2004 in one of the era's most watched trials.
A hearing for his request is set for February.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Harris told NBC's "TODAY" show, a day after his client was sentenced to life behind bars.
“I think there’s a great deal of evidence that the juror did commit misconduct, essentially when she filled out the juror form, the juror questionnaire, and also when she was questioned in court, she did not tell the truth about incidents in her own life when she was a victim of domestic violence while she was pregnant."
Peterson was re-sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday. The state Supreme Court overturned his death sentence last year after it was determined that jurors who disagreed with capital punishment were improperly dismissed.
Peterson had hoped to address his slain wife's family in court on Wednesday but a judge denied that request.
“What Scott wanted to do was to make it clear that how he’s been presented in the media and the court isn’t who Scott Peterson is," Harris told "TODAY."
“When you have things like a billboard outside the courtroom with his picture saying ‘man or monster,’ that he is not a monster, that he did not commit this crime and I think he wants people to know that.”
Harris said he's has asked his client to trust the legal process.
“It’s been difficult for him because his lawyers, myself included, have asked him, just let the process play out," Harris said. "Continue to allow the process play out and eventually you’ll have your opportunity. And I believe it’s been frustrating for him which is understandable."
"He’s been sitting in jail cell now for almost 18 years and he wants the opportunity for people to know that he is innocent and that he would never have hurt Laci and Conner and I think it's frustrating for him," Harris said.
Peterson's defense lawyers insist they can show a burglary, across the street from the couple's home, is connected to Laci Peterson's disappearance.
“We believe we have evidence that the people who actually were involved (in the burglary) are people who have a very violent criminal history, and we believe we can prove that that is much more likely as to what happened rather than Scott having killed his wife,” Harris said.
A representative of the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office declined to discuss the case on Thursday.
"We believe the ethical rules governing prosecutors requires that we make our comments only in court," Deputy DA John Goold said in a statement to NBC News.
Scott and Laci Peterson lived in the Central Valley city of Modesto, about 80 miles east of Oakland. But massive pretrial publicity of the case forced its removal to the San Francisco suburb of San Mateo.