``There's no doubt about it, there were some striking similarities,'' Peruto said in a telephone interview.
The client, Frank Vergilio of Pennsauken, was free on bail at the time. Peruto said he brought Vergilio to be questioned by Philadelphia homicide dectectives.
``He was completely cleared.'' said Peruto. ``I have a second office in New Jersey, so he never came to my Philadelphia office.''
In his suit, Peruto said reporter Schratweiser called him eight days after the Ernest murder, while the jury was deliberating the fate of Vergilio. The reporter then told Peruto that Vergilio was a suspect in Ernest's murder.
The suit says despite Peruto's telling the reporter that Vergilio had already been cleared and ``advising him strongly not to air a false story,'' Schratweiser did broadcast the allegations.
Peruto said some jurors heard the broadcast or were told about it, and two jurors were dismissed.
The suit alleges that Schratweiser's report implied that Peruto was a ``liar'' and ``dishonest,'' and that it held the lawyer up ``to public scorn and ridicule,'' which caused the loss of clients.
The suit called the news report ``defamatory'' and ``malicious.''
WTXF Station manager Michael Conway gave a terse ``no comment'' when asked about the suit filed last week in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.
In the end, Vergilio was convicted of two of the attacks and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Two other men, Richard Wise and Herbert Haak, have been charged in the murder of Ernest.