I have two quick stories concerning the enduring, emotionally-charged fallout from the Casey Anthony acquittal. Both incidents happened Wednesday.
First, my wife Erica came home after dropping our almost six-year old daughter Sol off at summer camp. “Honey,” Erica began with a long, sad face, “three of the moms just told me that they would have a difficult time coming to Sol’s birthday party (scheduled for July 30th), if She (Casey Anthony) is here.”
Later that same day I spoke with Casey Anthony’s much-maligned defense attorney José Baez, telling him I thought it was time I met his client. He answered, “Isn’t she on your yacht? Just row out and say hello!”
My point is that because I was one of the few journalists covering the child murder case of the century to report on the glaring weaknesses in the prosecution case, and because I’ve broken a few stories concerning the still reviled though acquitted ‘tot mom’, and finally, because of my relationship with attorney José Baez, the tabloid press corps and the legion of Casey-haters believe I am harboring her. As I said this morning on Fox & Friends, I have never met Ms. Anthony; I have never spoken to Casey Anthony; I have no idea where she is; and I have played no role whatsoever in her life.
Also, I do not own a yacht. I own “Voyager” a vintage 40-year old vessel that I sailed around the world with my family (1997-2000), and 1,400 miles up the Amazon River (2000-2001).As far as I know, ‘Voyager’ has never hosted a fugitive from either justice or the press. She currently sits on a mooring under the George Washington Bridge in New York Harbor in plain view of hundreds of thousands of commuters every day.
To reiterate: I don’t know where Casey Anthony is; we have never met or spoken, and I have played absolutely no role in her life, either pre or post-trial.
Having said that, I continue to be appalled at the slanted, distorted, one-sided press coverage concerning her case and her acquittal.
Witness the latest, grossly under-reported revelation concerning alleged prosecutorial misconduct. It is now clear that the prosecution knew before closing arguments that it’s much hyped contention that Casey searched her computer 84 times for information on chloroform was bogus; and that there had been only one search lasting several minutes. That single search came at the same time chloroform was being advertised as a cheapo dance club drug by one of Casey’s boyfriends.
Worried that he might have given the jury incorrect information, after testifying in late June, John Bradley, the computer researcher used by the prosecution went back to his lab, and reconfigured his tests. Upon review, he came to the same conclusion as the defense computer expert, that there had not been 84 searches, but only the single search lasting several minutes concerning the use of chloroform in the 1800’s.
During the weekend of June 25th Bradley then reached out desperately to prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick and Sgt. Kevin Stenger of the Orange County Sheriff’s office. “I gave the police everything they needed to present a new report,” Mr. Bradley said. “I did the work myself and copied out the entire database in a spreadsheet to make sure there was no issue of accessibility to the data,” he told Lizette Alvarez of the New York Times. Prosecutors choose to ignore it.
Why should we care? Firstly because the prosecution is required by law to present the defense with all exculpatory evidence. In other words, by suppressing this crucial evidence, they broke the law. Worse, they fanned the flames of the lynch mob. Remember the countless reports and commentaries in countless newspapers and on thousands of newscasts and chat shows repeating that this horrible woman had used chloroform to sedate and then kill her child. Indeed, the chloroform searches were the heart of the prosecution summation. And it was untrue. Worse, the prosecution knew it was untrue.
On a related issue, I am apparently the target of a boycott among anti-Caseyites based on my relationship with fellow Puerto Rican José Baez; my unflinching, but correct legal analysis of the weakness of the prosecution case; and my insistence that all the available evidence suggests the much reviled woman was a ‘good’ mother, i.e., there was no evidence of neglect or abuse. That is precisely why this case is so upsetting. How can a good mother go so wrong so fast?
Anyway, I can take the heat, but justice for the tragic and beloved toddler Caylee Marie Anthony does not mean that we can suspend the laws of the State of Florida or the Constitution of the United States to frame her mother.
Geraldo Rivera is Senior Columnist for Fox News Latino.