Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

U.S.

Casey Anthony's Attorney: We Need to Start Respecting the Verdict

In an exclusive interview Sunday with Geraldo Rivera on Fox News' "Geraldo at Large," Casey Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez discussed his reaction to the public outrage surrounding the verdict.

"We need to start respecting the jury verdict and decisions that the juries make," Baez told Rivera. 

The comment comes a day after Casey Anthony was released from an Orange County, Fla., jail 12 days after she was acquitted of murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

Anthony, 25, who had spent years in the spotlight's glare including two months of nationally televised trial proceedings was escorted outside by two sheriff's deputies early Sunday armed with semi-automatic rifles. She swiftly boarded an SUV and rode out of public view -- with $537.68 in cash from her jail account.

Anthony's whereabouts remained a closely guarded secret Monday, known only to a select few as she tries to start a new life. One of her lawyers says an elaborate plan was made to protect her from people with "the lynch-mob mentality."

Her options for starting a new life could be limited by lawsuits pending against her, the scorn of multitudes who think she was guilty of the killing and a criminal record from her convictions for lying to police. 

Her attorney Cheney Mason told NBC's Today Show on Monday that he's confident in Anthony's safety, but declined to answer questions about where she was.

"She's gone, she's safe and elaborate plans had to be made to keep the people away from her," Mason said. "Her life is going to be very difficult for a very long time as long as there are so many people of the lynch-mob mentality."

Asked about how Anthony was paying for her fresh start, Mason replied that many volunteers have offered their help.

As Anthony's SUV left the jail's parking lot, the crowd of more than 100 people surged against the orange plastic police barricades and some yelled "You suck!" Mounted patrolmen and police cruisers blocked the street outside the jail so Anthony's vehicle could drive onto a nearby highway ramp unobstructed.

"A baby killer was just set free!" Bree Thornton, 39, shouted at the passing SUV.

Anthony had a handful of supporters in the crowd, including one man who carried a "Casey, will you marry me" sign.

But her backers -- at the jail and across the country -- appeared to be vastly outnumbered by her critics.

In response to a question about whether Anthony planned to cash in on her fame, Baez told Fox News that she has "certain rights as an individual in this country." Attorneys planned to handle Anthony's affairs in a "dignified manner," he said.

"If she decides she wants to speak publicly about it, she'll make that decision," he said.

"Pundits and media personalities have no right to try and alter the life of any individual because of what they think may or may not have happened," added Baez.

Anthony did not report her daughter's disappearance for a month and was arrested after telling a string of lies about the case to police. Caylee's remains were found in December 2008 near the home Casey Anthony shared with her parents.

Prosecutors alleged that Anthony suffocated her daughter with duct tape because motherhood interfered with her desire for a carefree life, but her lawyers said the girl drowned in an accident that snowballed out of control. Some of the jurors who acquitted Anthony said they believe she bears some responsibility for her daughter's death but that prosecutors failed to prove that she murdered the child.

Anthony had remained in jail to finish a four-year sentence for lying to investigators. With credit for the nearly three years she'd spent in jail since August 2008 and good behavior, she had only days remaining when she was sentenced July 7.

Casey Anthony's relationship with her parents is strained. During trial, Anthony's defense attorneys argued that her father, George Anthony, molested Casey as a child and covered up Caylee's death. He has denied both claims, and neither has been substantiated.

What is known is that Casey Anthony still faces a slew of legal problems even though the criminal charges have been resolved. She has been sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars by a Texas group that searched for Caylee in the weeks after she was reported missing, and prosecutors are seeking to recoup the cost of their investigation into Caylee's disappearance.

Anthony also is being sued for defamation by a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez who claims she has been harassed and unable to find work after Anthony alleged Caylee was kidnapped by a baby sitter with Gonzalez' name. The woman's attorneys had wanted to depose Anthony before she left jail, but the deposition was rescheduled for October.

Any of those civil cases could put a major dent in any money Anthony receives for writing a book, signing a movie deal or doing interviews. Anthony is broke, and her defense team was paid for with taxpayers' money after $200,000 she received from ABC News was spent.

Several book publishers contacted by The Associated Press said they knew of no memoir that was being shopped around and consider her too tainted to sign a deal.

Anthony could avoid the potential liability of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the lawsuits by filing for bankruptcy, though plaintiffs would probably attempt to keep her on the hook for damages if she signs lucrative deals after filing, said R. Scott Shuker, an Orlando bankruptcy attorney.

An important step in building a new life is getting psychological help to cope with her notoriety, severed family ties and newfound freedom, said attorneys with clients in similar circumstances.

"Everything she has been through, that's more than most people can deal with in a lifetime," said Daniel Meachum, an Atlanta attorney who has represented football player Michael Vick when he was convicted of dog fighting and actor Wesley Snipes when he was convicted of tax evasion.

Media relations expert Marti Mackenzie, who specialized in legal cases, said it's important for Anthony to make some kind of public statement soon. She said a standard news conference is out of the question, but Anthony needs to say she made terrible mistakes, that she is grateful to her defense team and that she has thought about what happened every day of her life in jail.

"In traditional public relations language, it's called feeding the beast," Mackenzie said. "Even if you don't give the beast a full meal, you respond. Because once you're part of media scrutiny ... how it is handled once the case is over will help to set a tone."

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

Bank Rates

Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
30 Y Fixed Graph 4.18% dw 4.20%  
15 Y Fixed Graph 3.21% dw 3.27%  
30 Y Fixed Jumbo Graph 4.69% up 4.61%  
5/1 ARM Graph 3.32% dw 3.53%  
5/1 Jumbo ARM Graph 3.71% dw 3.85%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
$30K HELOC Graph 4.29% -- 4.29%  
$50K HELOC Graph 4.04% -- 4.04%  
$30K Loan Graph 5.10% up 5.09%  
$50K Loan Graph 4.53% up 4.52%  
$75K Loan Graph 4.53% up 4.52%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
36 M New Graph 2.93% -- 2.93%  
36 M Used Graph 3.46% -- 3.46%  
48 M New Graph 3.22% -- 3.22%  
48 M Used Graph 2.99% up 2.98%  
60 M New Graph 3.24% -- 3.24%  
Loan Type Graph Yield +/- Last Week
6 month Graph 0.37% up 0.35%  
1 yr Graph 0.69% up 0.69%  
5 yr Graph 1.47% up 1.39%