"All I know is this — I'm going to do the best I can," he said. "It's not going to be like any lawyer you've seen before. I break every rule in the book."
Prosecutors haven't yet explicitly presented their theory of the case — that Peterson put Savio in a police chokehold until she passed out and then drowned her in her bathtub. Will County Judge Edward Burmila repeatedly prevented the jury from hearing some testimony supporting that claim, ruling that the prosecution had not introduced any evidence proving Peterson was at the death scene.
The state indicated last week that it would make those same inferences during closing arguments, despite assured objections from Peterson's attorneys.
"What inferences they draw from evidence remains to be seen, and I'm not going to put any restrictions," Burmila said Friday. "Defense can object at the time."
Experts say prosecutors must tread carefully in this area, both to avoid a major misstep and prevent Peterson's attorneys from disrupting their rhythm with a barrage of objections. The prosecution survived a near mistrial during opening statements when Glasgow mentioned a topic that had not yet been admitted by the court.
"They're walking a very fine line, especially with a judge that has been relatively hostile to them," said criminal defense lawyer Andrew St. Laurent, a partner with Harris, O'Brien, St. Laurent & Houghteling in New York. "The defense has done an excellent job of objecting to testimony and disrupting the prosecution's case during this trial. If you're the prosecution, you don't want to give them a chance to take away the drama of a closing argument."
Lopez's closing argument is expected to hit what has been a consistent theme for defense attorneys since Peterson was charged in 2009 — that Savio's death was an accident.
No physical evidence ties Peterson to Savio's death, and prosecutors have built a circumstantial case that relies heavily on hearsay statements. But Lopez may find himself needing to combat a witness called by his fellow defense attorney Joel Brodsky.
Savio's divorce attorney Harry Smith last week testified that Stacy Petersoncalled and asked him if she could use the fact that Drew Peterson killed Savio to her advantage in a potential divorce.
Even Burmila has remarked on the oddity.
"I will say that I think it's unusual that ... the information of how (Peterson) killed (Savio) came from the (second to) last witness called in the case by the defendant," he said in court Friday.
Jurors did not hear that Stacy Peterson vanished about four days after the conversation with Smith. Drew Peterson has not been charged in her disappearance, but prosecutors believe he killed her.
Assistant State's Attorney Chris Koch will give the state's closing argument with State's Attorney James Glasgow providing the final words rebutting Lopez's comments to jurors.
They declined to comment.
"Chris Koch, he knows what he's doing. And Jim Glasgow, he ain't no idiot. So we got an uphill battle, no question about it," Lopez said. "This case is far from being in the bag. We're going to do the best we can, win or lose."
"It's going to be one for the books," Brodsky said. "You are not going to want to miss it, I can promise you. Front row and center is where you want to be if possible."