By now, Tuvan throat-singers are looking at their BlackBerrys and shaking their heads over the news that former Bolingbrook, Illinois police officer and murder suspect Drew Peterson is engaged to a 23-year-old woman. “What’s he got that I ain’t got?” they must be wondering.
What he’s got is a publicity agent named Glenn Selig who, whenever there’s any chance that Drew Peterson is fading from public consciousness — getting eclipsed by a purported-bookie-turned-governor, perhaps — cranks out a press release like today’s “Drew Peterson Spokesperson Releases Statement on Peterson Engagement”:
“We can confirm that Drew Peterson recently became engaged to a 23 year old woman, as reported this morning by Derek Armstrong, author of Drew Peterson Exposed.”
Derek Armstrong, the author (as opposed to the Derek Armstong who plays for the Los Angeles Kings) has a book to sell, of course, so it’s natural that he would want to be in the news — like Fox News, for example:
“The kids have met her,” said Armstrong. “They like her and they know about this engagement.”
But what I still can’t understand is what Drew Peterson himself is getting out of all this publicity, and why he is so eager to participate. Peterson, after all, is the one offering all of this stuff to Armstrong in the first place. Fox News, again:
Armstrong said the new fiancée, whom Peterson refused to identify, lives within 15 minutes of Peterson’s Bolingbrook, Ill., home. He said the couple have been dating about four months. Lawyer Joel Brodsky and publicist Glenn Selig did not identify the woman either.
For some time now, Drew Peterson has used a lawyer, a publicist, and an author as part of his campaign to stoke his celebrity — granting exclusive interviews to Matt Lauer on the Today show and the other network morning shows, phoning in to Dan Abrams on MSNBC, and even asking Steve Dahl to fix him up in an on-air Dating Game. His appearance on Dr. Phil drew huge ratings for that show, even though the hour revealed virtually nothing new.
Never mind whether any of this is newsworthy or even interesting. How does it ultimately benefit Drew Peterson? Is he angling to get his own show? Is there a movie deal in the works?
So far, it’s only other guys who seem to be profiting.
Besides the aforementioned Derek Armstrong, Joliet Herald News reporter/photographer Joe Hosey has written Fatal Vows: The Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson. But as far as I can tell, Drew Peterson himself doesn’t even have a website. He had one (DefendDrew.com) for a few days, but then shut it right down.
Also, how can this latest news be any good for the “23 year old woman” who supposedly accepted his proposal?
Some may remember that, back in March, Peterson was pulled over for speeding while on his way to pick up a 22-year-old female:
“I was just being a good samaritan,” he said, declining to identify the woman, but insisting she wasn’t a girlfriend. “Let’s call her a friend,” said Peterson, whom police have labeled a suspect in the Oct. 28 disappearance of his wife, Stacy Peterson, 23.
Later, it was reported that the woman had spent a night at Peterson’s home:
The woman said she met Peterson about three weeks ago through their mutual friend, Steve Carcerano, who tans at the salon where she works. Since then, they have spoken often and she has spent the night at his home – but nothing physical took place, she said. Peterson did not seem so sure about that.
“Never ‘nothing’ physical,” Peterson said enigmatically.
Ah, yes — the enigmatic double-negative.
That woman — Kim Matuska of Darien (an 18-minute drive from Bolingbrook), eventually testified to the grand jury investigating the Stacy Peterson case. She declared that she was “done” with Drew Peterson. and, in an ironic twist, Peterson blamed the media spotlight for their breakup:
“The TV producers are relentless,” he said. “The state police were rude to her. They told her bad things.”
So far, I have not heard any reporting on whether this previous “girlfriend” and today’s fiancée have anything to do with each other. Nevertheless, Drew Peterson remains his same old ironic and enigmatic self, as Joe Hosey reported today:
A sleepy Peterson on Wednesday morning seemed perturbed that news of his engagement had leaked.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” he said. “How the f–k did this get out?”
Maybe he should check with his publicist.
Meanwhile, even as I have been typing this post, Joe Hosey has spoken on MSNBC via telephone and said that both the “fiancée” and her boyfriend deny that the 23-year-old woman is, in fact, engaged to Drew Peterson.
Maybe it isn’t about money, or even about fame per se.
Maybe it’s just a heck of a lot of fun to blurt out something random and then sit back and watch everyone from major news outlets to obscure bloggers scurrying to sort it out.
Maybe it’s what you do when there’s nothing else worth watching and you’re a jokester with a low regard for the sort of young woman who would allow herself to become involved with someone like you.
Glenn Selig, Drew Petersen’s publicist, sent this message last night:
Read your post… and just for the record, we are not the ones who released this information. I confirmed it only after Derek Armstrong reported it. I was bombarded with phone calls from all sorts of media outlets, fielding phone calls today on average of every three minutes. And I’m not exaggerating.
Drew Peterson spoke with Mr. Armstrong but apparently did not anticipate Mr. Armstrong making the information public.
You’ll notice that despite what people say about Drew wanting the spotlight, we have declined all interview invitations at this time.
Today, the saga just gets stranger. A Joliet Herald News story has the new fiancée’s father, one Ernie Raines, naming his daughter, Christina Raines, as the bethrothed even while she denies she’s engaged:
“That ain’t going to happen,” said Ernie Raines, of Chicago. “I’m doing everything I can to try to get her away from him. … I’d like to say to him: Stay away from my daughter, take his ring back and look for his wife before he’s out trying to get another young girl.”
Also, he says he’ll drive his Cadillac through Peterson’s house.