June 03, 2004 07:00 AM

Scott Peterson’s lead defense attorney Mark Geragos came out swinging Wednesday, talking softly as he delivered strong opening remarks to the six-man, six-woman jury who will decide the fate of the 31-year-old double-murder suspect, PEOPLE reports.

“If you want to call him a cad, if you want to say his behavior was boorish, I’m not going to disagree with that. But the fact is that this is a murder case,” said Geragos, who played down Peterson’s relationship with his mistress, massage therapist Amber Frey.

Attacking the prosecution’s opening remarks from Tuesday, Geragos said: “Their theory is that Scott didn’t want to have a child and didn’t want to have a relationship, and that he was going to chuck his entire life with Laci for the woman that he had two dates with.”

But the real bombshell: Geragos promised evidence that would show Scott and Laci Peterson’s son was born alive, proving his client had nothing to do with Laci’s death. He said an expert would testify the fetus was older than it would have been had it died at the same time as Laci.

Geragos also said the prosecution failed to tell the jurors that, during taped phone conversations with Frey, Scott said, “The most important thing is finding Laci. I love Laci very much.”

Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his eight-months-pregnant wife Laci, 27, in their Modesto home because he was having an affair with Frey, then drove Laci’s body nearly 100 miles to San Francisco Bay and dumped it from his small boat.

Peterson, who besides being charged with the murder of his wife is also charged with killing their unborn baby, was arrested near the Mexican border in April 2003. He was carrying $15,000 and his brother’s driver’s license and had dyed his hair blond.

Geragos said Scott had his brother’s ID on the day of his arrest because it was good for a discount at Torrey Pines Golf Course, where he planned on playing that day.

“There is direct evidence in this case,” Geragos told the jury. “The direct evidence is the eyewitnesses who saw her walk her dog that day. The evidence will tell you that she was alive that day on Dec. 24. When Scott Peterson came back from the marina, she was gone. The evidence will show that not only Scott Peterson is not guilty but that Scott Peterson is stone cold innocent.”

By afternoon, prosecutors called the first witness in the trial: Margarita Nava, who cleaned the Peterson home on Dec. 23, 2002. She testified that she cleaned and dusted the entire house and mopped the bathroom floors with Clorox and Pine Sol.

More witness testimony is due Thursday.

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