SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – From his grave, Greg Peterson wants to sue anyone who defames him.
That’s what Peterson’s civil attorney claims as a possibility. Graham Norris was Peterson’s business attorney for several years and is now serving as Peterson's estate attorney. Norris claims Peterson wants him to sue if anyone defames him.
“Greg Peterson he specifically said ‘honor my memory by telling my side of the story,’” says Norris. "That was his greatest frustration when he was incarcerated and when he was out on bail was that no attention or effort was being made to his side of the story. And he felt the cards were stacked against him."
Norris believes that’s what caused him to take his own life at his Heber City cabin instead of fighting the charges against him.
Peterson, a mover and shaker in republican circles was charged with multiple counts of rape, sodomy and kidnapping.
Four women testified in court during a preliminary hearing about their encounter with Peterson.
But Peterson committed suicide after he was released from jail.
“Because of the agendas he believed others had that his side of the story would never be told and he wanted an opportunity to tell it,” says Norris.
But nearly every news organization relished the idea of interviewing Peterson from his jail cell. But Peterson was never heard from.
“I don't know what Mr. Peterson was thinking in the final days of his life,” he says. “I think he had already reached the conclusion that any effort on his part would be futile.”
His attorney says the victims tarnished Peterson's name by making up claims they were kidnapped, raped and sodomized.
“I believe that his defense attorneys felt if tried separately none of the accusers stories would hold up,” Norris says.
But one of his alleged victims stands by her story.
“He knows what he did, he knows,” says the woman who didn’t want to be identified. “I know what he did."
And Peterson believed the Salt Lake district attorney, a democrat, had a political agenda against Peterson, a GOP fundraiser.
“In his final will and testament Peterson expressed a desire that an investigation be conducted into that kind of allegation to see if there was any misconduct or inappropriate agenda behind his prosecution,” says Norris.
Salt Lake’s District Attorney Sim Gill says politics weren’t a factor in filing charges against Peterson.
“I don’t care if you’re a democrat, republican or an independent,” says Gill. “If you commit a crime in my jurisdiction you will be prosecuted.”
Gill also says the victims were under oath and cross examined by the defense.
“And a judge found them credible enough to rule that Peterson must stand trial,” says Gill.
Peterson’s attorney is now considering the next step, suing on behalf of a dead man.
“Certainly actions can be maintained on behalf of the deceased person such as in a wrongful death lawsuit,” says Norris. “However we're still evaluating the viability of those lawsuits on behalf of Mr. Peterson,” says Norris.
But Gill says a dead person can’t sue.
“Dead people can’t be injured,” says Gill. “A personal tort is for someone living.”