Air Date: Thursday, June 29, 2006
Time Slot: 9:00 PM-11:00 PM EST on ABC
Episode Title: "The Staircase"
[NOTE: The following article is a press release issued by the aforementioned network and/or company. Any errors, typos, etc. are attributed to the original author. The release is reproduced solely for the dissemination of the enclosed information.]


�The Stair Case� is an extraordinary look behind the scenes of a high-profile murder trial in a small southern town. From the desperate 911 call to the stunning verdict, a team of Academy Award-winning filmmakers from Paris document every aspect of the sensational case against novelist Michael Peterson, who was charged with bludgeoning his wife, Kathleen, to death at the bottom of a staircase in their million-dollar home in Durham, North Carolina on December 9, 2001. Chris Cuomo hosts the documentary, based on footage from the internationally acclaimed eight-hour film that recently won a duPont and Peabody Award. This exclusive two-hour special report updates the latest headlines in the controversial case, including Peterson�s appeal and a wrongful death suit filed by his stepdaughter, Caitlin Atwater. �The Stair Case� airs on �Primetime,� THURSDAY, JUNE 29 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Was it a tragic accident � as Peterson claimed -- or first degree murder? With exclusive access to the defendant, his family and his team of high-powered lawyers, the cinema-v�rit� film chronicles every step of Michael Peterson�s journey from successful newspaper columnist to accused murderer, while his innermost secrets become front page news.

The film follows Peterson and his children as they move between public spectacle and private moments of anger, despair and even light-hearted fun. Then we go inside the defense team as they strategize about �good facts / bad facts� and conduct an investigation led by celebrity forensics expert Henry Lee. We are in the courtroom as the trial takes one dramatic turn after the other, including:

� Allegations that Peterson faked the 911 call

� The revelation that Peterson is bisexual and exchanged emails with gay prostitutes

� The 11th-hour discovery of the �missing murder weapon�

� The exhumation of Peterson�s close friend who also died mysteriously at the bottom of a staircase 18 years ago � a woman whose two young daughters were subsequently raised by Michael and Kathleen Peterson

Through it all the defendant, Michael Peterson, provides a running commentary, often emotional, sometimes cynical and always riveting. Another subplot deals with relationships inside the Peterson home: When Kathleen�s biological daughter, Caitlin Atwater, becomes convinced by the evidence that her stepfather murdered her mother, she publicly turns against him � splitting the family.

The film also takes an in-depth look at the American justice system. While the case is almost entirely circumstantial, emotions run high in the courtroom, often overwhelming the physical evidence. As the defense struggles to establish reasonable doubt, the prosecution hammers home the gruesome autopsy pictures and bisexual emails seized from Peterson�s computer.

Culled from more than 650 hours of footage, this two-hour documentary is a television event that offers a unique view of what it�s like to be on trial for your life.

�The Stair Case� is a collaboration between ABC and the Academy Award-winning team from Maha Productions in Paris. Rudy Bednar is the senior executive producer. Teri Whitcraft is the senior producer. For Maha, Denis Poncet and Jean-Xavier deLestrade are executive producers.

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