PRINT PAGEJupiter philanthropist Peter DeGeorge acquitted in domestic attackJune 11, 2010
By Jose Lambiet
Page 2 Live
5:22 pm EST
It took a Miami-Dade County jury 15 minutes Thursday to find Jupiter philanthropist Peter DeGeorge, 63, not guilty of beating his ex-wife in February.
Why such speed?
While cops took a photo of Traci DeGeorge the night of the incident that didn’t show any injuries, Traci, 44, sent prosecutors another picture of her with a black eye hours later. Peter’s attorney, Mark Shapiro, showed through a forensic study of the newer photo that the black eye was likely the product of a not-so-clever makeup job.
“A 15-minute acquittal after a four-day trial certainly sent a message to Traci that her credibility was questionable,” Shapiro said. He called Traci’s evidence “fabricated.”
A generous sponsor of many area youth sports leagues, Peter is a son of the late Lawrence J. DeGeorge, who died last year at 88, and Florence DeGeorge. They were permanent fixtures on the Palm Beach do-gooder circuit, where they donated millions made from the manufacturing of TV cable to causes like the Boys & Girls Club.
Since the patriarch’s death, Peter and his brother, Lawrence Jr., have traded lawsuits over the estate, which includes toys like a $26 million-jet.
Traci summoned Miami Beach cops to the couple’s suite at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach in February when their attempt to reconcile two years after getting divorced went wrong. Traci said she saw text-messages between Peter and an ex-girlfriend on his cell phone. That led to an argument in which Traci threw the phone at Peter. She told cops Peter tackled her, chocked her and threatened to kill her.
“Traci’s testimony in court this week was at 180 degrees contradictory to what she told police,” Shapiro said.
Traci didn’t return calls seeking her comments.