OTR Interviews

Defense Attorney: Casey Anthony in Danger Outside Jail, Shame on Those Who Have Threatened Jurors, Lawyers

Attorney Cheney Mason goes 'OTR' on the forensic evidence at trial, threats to jurors and the defense team and Casey Anthony's unusual behavior

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: In six days, Casey Anthony is expected to leave her Orange County jail cell, where she's been for nearly three years. Many of you are very upset by the verdict, wondering how she could be found not guilty of murder. The jury foreperson said he was unconvinced by the prosecution's evidence surrounding the duct tape as the cause of death.

We wanted to get more information. We asked Casey's defense attorney, J. Cheney Mason.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: We interviewed one of the jurors, or actually the jury foreperson. And what he said was the reason behind the finding was that the prosecution couldn't prove to them beyond a reasonable doubt the cause of death. And I asked him to explain to me this duct tape because it's hung up a lot of viewers. And I'm -- could you explain to me -- because we don't have the photographs -- where was the duct tape on the remains when the remains were found?

J. CHENEY MASON, ANTHONY DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There was no duct tape on the remains, except for part of the hair mat on the lower right side. The other duct tape, piece number three, was found about eight or nine feet away. There was never any evidence of duct tape being actually placed across that child's mouth or nose. That was a figment of Mr. Ashton's imagination.

VAN SUSTEREN: So that I fully understand this -- and I don't want to get too graphic, but unfortunately, in courtrooms, you do. I mean, that's just evidence. The skeletal remains -- it was just bone that was found, is that right?

MASON: Yes. Bones and hair.

VAN SUSTEREN: And hair.

MASON: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so -- so the tape -- the duct tape that was found was on the air but not attached to any part of the bone in the face.

MASON: That's correct.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was it a distance from the face? I take I was photographed right at the scene.

MASON: These photographs are subject to question themselves, particularly if you place any credibility at all on the testimony on the man who found the remains. He moved it twice. I mean, he lifted the bag some four feet off the ground and said the skull rolled out. And when he came back, he lifted the skull with the meter stick. That's kind of graphic for your audience as well.

But the bottom line is, if he had any credibility at all, the skull had to be moved a couple of times. And so the picture that were taken, as you've just shown there a minute ago, was the medical examiner investigator reaching now to pick the skull up -- we don't know whether he was pushing it into the ground or how he moved it, but there was no tape on it.

But the big issue was there was a total failure to find any forensic evidence whatsoever on the tape. And more importantly, if you remember the only partial profile of DNA that was detected absolutely excluded Casey, and also excluded Caylee from having contact with that tape. So that is a mystery in itself. It has not and never will be solved, I suppose.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I thought was -- I talked to Jeff Ashton, the prosecutor, and I asked him whether -- she disappeared or died in June. There was a call in August by the meter reader, and then the remains were found in December. I asked him if the remains had been found in August when the first call was made whether there would have been more forensic clouds which would have indicated cause of death. He said even that was too late. Do you agree or not?

MASON: I don't agree. It's possible, but again, it's possible, possible, possible. That's the kind of case we had. The fact of the matter is, the child was alive June 16 and was seen with the grandfather on the videotape.

If the sheriff's department had done their job -- I've always wondered why they couldn't do the slightest thing. Mr. Kronk not known to any of these people, not involved in any capacity. He called and told them he found a skull. He told his coworker that were with him he found a skull. It was located only 19 feet from the edge of the pavement.

How in the world the detective, deputy, any law enforcement officer responding to that, particularly in light of the profile of this case, the world was looking for little Caylee. And a man says I found a skull location around the corner hundreds of yards, actually, from the Anthony home, the first place they should have looked, and I understand they did look and found nothing.

So the bottom line is, how can you explain a deputy not insisting, saying to Mr. Kronk, show me what you just found. Point to it. It is only five paces away. If they had done that and done their job properly they would have recovered the remains. And there certainly would have been a better chance of forensic evidence detection. There would have been significantly more marrow in the bones. There would have been more tissue with the skull and hair mat. There would have been flesh easily adhered to any of the tape if it had been put across her face. And so, to say they wouldn't have this -- that's a cop-out. That's a "CYA." They could have and they should have.

VAN SUSTEREN: Your client gets out of jail soon. I'm curious whether you have concerns about her safety? I'm sure you have seen the public outcry about the verdict.

MASON: I've seen the public outcry about the verdict, and it is pretty saddening to know we have so few educated citizens in our country that doesn't respect the constitution. You and I have seen that before, however.

And I'm devastated by people who have attacked the jurors. Shame on them. Perhaps there's a place in Iran for them to enjoy their favors. The bottom line is the jurors have been threatened. Lawyers have been threatened. Our teams have been threatened. It is very discouraging to say this is 2011 and we have so much of our citizenry that really don't deserve to be, frankly.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is she in danger, at risk?

MASON: I'm sorry?

VAN SUSTEREN: Is she in danger?

MASON: Of course she's in danger. I mean, not right now. She is still in jail. But Casey can't go anywhere. Who is not going to recognize her? That is the most recognizable face in this country, next to President Obama. And I don't know where she is going to be able to go. We're not telling when or how or where. She is going to have problems for a very longtime, I'm sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: From the outside, you know, I see the case from the outside. I don't know your client, but those 31 days to me were absolutely deplorable her conduct -- partying, tattoos. The words are indescribable. But I'm curious, your viewpoint of your client?

MASON: What of know of Casey she an incredibly likeable person despite the lynch mob mentality on the street. To talk to her a just few minutes is to like her. She is very bright very articulate. She's got guts. She is as tough as they come.

And all I can say to you is we did have an expert talk about how people grieve differently. And I found it very interesting listening to that testimony and people being skeptical about it. One of the people on my team sitting right there at the table had just buried her grandmother the day before that expert testified, and nobody knew she was grieving. I knew about it, but there were no visible signs. Greta, people do things differently. And unusual, absolutely. Abnormal, absolutely. I had the same questions, everybody I know had the same questions you did.

VAN SUSTEREN: I appreciate you joining us. I know there are a lot of questions to be asked. I hope you come back because I'm sure this case, regrettably for you, is not going away.

MASON: No, not any time soon.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.

(END VIDEOTAPE)