Restaurateur can have contempt charge dropped
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org December 19, 2012 11:50AM
After getting kicked out of Drew Peterson’s trial Aug. 23, restaurateur Jeff Ruby talks about his courtroom encounter with Peterson. | File photo
Updated: January 21, 2013 3:49PM
An Ohio steakhouse magnate who mouthed an expletive at convicted killer Drew Peterson during his murder trial during the summer likely will have his contempt charge dropped if he doesn’t stir up any more trouble in the courtroom.
Jeff Ruby, who owns a chain of upscale restaurants in the Midwest, mouthed “(Expletive) you” at Peterson during a break in the trial. Ruby immediately was thrown out of the courthouse and off the property. He was arrested later that night at his hotel and booked into the county jail on a charge of contempt.
Ruby’s lawyer and a special prosecutor handling the case agreed to monitor Ruby over the next 120 days. If he stays out of trouble, his case will be dismissed.
Special prosecutor David Neal and Ruby’s lawyer, Stephen White, appeared before Chief Judge Gerald Kinney Wednesday morning and presented the proposal. Kinney approved the plan.
“My main thrust ... is to ensure there were no further disruptions of the Peterson trial by Jeff Ruby,” Neal said. “It appears clear to me that Mr. Ruby violated the ongoing orders of the court to maintain decorum, but I have no evidence that Mr. Ruby was personally aware of those orders.”
White said Ruby, who was not in court Wednesday, did not want to fight the charge and create another media spectacle in Will County.
“Really, his thoughts were more about the victims,” White said, and having a hearing or trial on the charge would have created a media circus. “I respect Mr. Ruby to the utmost in his decision.”
The fact that Ruby didn’t want to fight the charge — along with an apology Ruby offered for his actions and a $100,000 reward he posted for information on the whereabouts of Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy — played into his decision to defer the prosecution, Neal said.
Peterson, a 58-year-old former Bolingbrook cop, was convicted in September for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and is facing a maximum of 60 years in prison.
Ruby’s case was scheduled for April 19.