Retired Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton, who famously prosecuted the Casey Anthony murder trial, has a book coming out on November 15, 2011.
Mr. Asthon’s book, Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony, promises to discuss never-revealed details about the case, including information related to the psychological examinations performed on then defendant Casey Anthony.
He will also be discussing the book on the Dr. Phil Show, Wednesday, November 16, 2001. No doubt the book will generate a lot of interest.
I’ve per-ordered a copy on my Nook.
If the Barnes & Noble Nook website is any indication, the book should do well. On the Barnes & Noble Nook page for the book, already nearly 60 “customer reviews” have been written! This is despite the fact it’s not even released yet! People are adding their thoughts about what they “think” the book will disclose…and of course they are arguing.
Cheney Mason reportedly is writing a book also. I have absolutely no interest in reading it because, frankly, I wouldn’t know what to believe. By the way, Mr. Mason is in a Daytona hospital after feeling ill during a conference in which he to speak. I certainly hope it’s not a serious issue keeping him in the hospital. I bet he’s cranky as hell in that hospital! I bet he’s shooting the bird at just about everyone, too! I hope so, that would mean he’s on the mend.
Anyway, back to Jeff Ashton’s book. I really am looking forward to reading some inside stories about the case and sure hope the book is long on character details! There were some colorful characters involved in the Anthony case, and it would be interesting to read about them.
Coincidentally, I was perusing Facebook this evening and stumbled upon “The Official Jeff Ashton Page.” Oh, it’s wonderful – lot’s of very nice photos, too!
Seeing some of the great photos of Mr. Ashton and his wife, Rita, his colleagues at the State Attorney’s Office, including Linda Drane-Burdick, and pictures of his Koi pond that he and his wife built – affirmed for me that he is not only a phenomenal attorney, he is also a down-to-earth, very nice guy. Someone you can’t help but like because he oozes charm.
There were many folks on the State side of the case who I really admired: ASA Linda Drane-Burdick, of course, was incredible. I admired the folks at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, too. Yuri Melich – loved him! Eric Edwards – loved him! John Allen – loved him! Who else? Just too many good people to name. Oh! I almost forgot ASA Frank George! Loved him!
Anyway, my Nook is ready for the Imperfect Justice download!
Thanks in advance, Jeff Ashton!
In the case against Casey Anthony, closing arguments were held today with regards to two important Defense motions which were presented last week. The two motions were, 1) Motion to suppress the Universal Studios interview, and 2) Motion to strike jail videos (the Defense alleges the Anthony family was tricked into acting as “Agents of the State” at the behest of Law Enforcement).
If courtroom motions were won or lost over the clarity of the arguments presented, the Prosecution would win, hands down. As a result of the intelligence and clarity of the States argument versus the free-flowing and dramatic defense argument, there was no contest. However, the competition is not about who is the better orator; it’s about which side can bring appropriate case law to support their individual argument(s).
Cheney Mason cited a lot of case law but hardly connected the relevance between the case law and the facts of the case. His delivery today was difficult to follow, and he consistently confused many of the known facts in the case.
Linda D. Burdick, Assistant State Attorney, was precise, methodical, and most importantly, her arguments were factual.
Mr. Mason charged the Orange County Sherriff’s Office with being completely deceitful and conspiratorial in their efforts to trick Casey at Universal Studios. Mr. Mason accused anyone in a uniform or a marked car with police intimidation of Casey, who was not at all familiar with the law and didn’t realize her rights.
With regards to the Anthony’s being Agents of the State, Mr. Mason argued that it didn’t matter if the Anthony’s were “unwittingly” working at the behest of the Police, the fact remains, he contends, they were like puppets doing the bidding of the Police.
Linda D. Burdick, on the other hand, argued after Mr. Mason and immediately clarified the factual misstatements Mr. Cheney made. (It was a thing of beauty!) She pointed out that up until the time of Casey’s arrest, the suspect in the case was Zenaida Fernandez Gonsalez – not Casey Anthony. All reports and statement were filled out with Zenaida as suspect, therefore, Casey was not the suspect, not in custody, and not treated as a suspect.
With regards to the Anthony’s as Agents of the State’s motion, Ms. Burdick pointed out that it was the Anthony’s who sought the help of the Detectives, not the other way around. As it turned out in this case, both the Anthony’s and Law Enforcement were working toward the same goal: finding Caylee.
There were quite a number if interesting moments in today’s proceedings. Also, it was nice to see Detectives John Allen, Yuri Melich, and Eric Edwards present at the hearing.
Judge Perry advised that he will rule on these motions by the end of next week. It appears to be no contest, in favor of the State, however, anything can happen – and it usually does!
George and Cindy Anthony were present and both were chewing gum! I believe that Judge Perry does not allow gum-chewing in his courtroom. The Anthony’s, as is their habit, place themselves above the rules and the law, as we know. In addition, Judge Perry recently admonished the gallery to refrain from facial expressions or gestures during hearings. Perhaps George Anthony missed that direction because when it was Ms. Burdick’s opportunity to argue, George Anthony persistently shook his head from side to side to communicate his disagreement.
I wonder how much longer Judge Perry will tolerate this behavior from the Anthony’s?
Casey appeared very uncomfortable today. It was interesting to see all the tricks Casey used to pretend not to hear what Ms. Burdick was discussing. Casey shifted in her seat, looked around, wrote furiously on her yellow pad, and whispered to Mr. Baez and Mr. Mason to try to avoid listening. When Mr. Mason argued his case, Casey sat very still and attentive. She worked quite hard to avoid hearing anything that resembled the truth.
Casey may not be able to hack what’s coming, and what she will hear.
An ocean of motions (six in all), by the defense team in the case against Casey Anthony, were recently entered into public record and will be heard in Judge Belvin Perry’s Orlando courtroom, on January 3, 2011.
The six motions detailed by the defense are an attempt to block the direct tackle the defense will take should the testimony surrounding these motions be heard by a jury. One cannot blame the defense for wanting to block these items as they are highly damaging to their case.
The six motions are itemized below and include a link to a copy of the motion:
Motion 1: This motion requests that any details regarding Casey Anthony’s sexual encounters with Tony Lazzaro be stricken.
Motion 2: This motion asks to exclude Casey Anthony’s sexual encounters with Anthony Rosciano, claiming they are prejudicial and should be stricken. This motion also claims that Yuri Mellich improperly questioned this witness.
Motion 3: The table knife found in the car Casey Anthony was driving, the defense claims, would be prejudicial if brought into evidence since it has no bearing on the charges in this case – was not a murder weapon, so to speak.
Motion 4: Lying or Stealing. The defense names George Anthony and other extended family members and requests that any mention of lying or stealing be stricken.
Motion 5: The defense wants all mention of the map that Casey was about to point to (at the request of her father) be stricken due to relevance.
Motion 6: The testimony of Brian Burner and any discussion of the shovel that Casey borrowed, the defense wants stricken.
Granted, it is a hefty task to go through and read all these motions. So I’ll save you the trouble and attempt to break them all down for you. Plus, I will provide my own lay-person opinion on why I believe most of these motions by the defense will be denied.
In this motion, the defense attacks Corporal Eric Edward’s questioning of Anthony (Tony) Lazzaro’s sexual encounters with Casey Anthony. The defense calls the line of questioning by Edwards: “scandalous and incompetent” and wants it stricken. The motion states that the sexual relationship between Casey Anthony and Tony Lazzarro is “utterly irrelevant to the case at hand.” Secondly, the defense argues that “any probative value is substantially outweighed by its potential prejudicial effect on the jury.”
Translation: This testimony, says the defense, does little to prove Casey Anthony killed her daughter, and such testimony could be a character assassination of Casey Anthony.
That is the defense’s argument. However, the relationship with Tony Lazzaro, sexual or otherwise, is relevant to the case as far as what Casey Anthony was doing during the 31 days her daughter was “missing.”
Like motion one, this motion seeks to exclude any information of a sexual nature of Anthony Rosciano’s relationship with Casey Anthony. The defense calls the questioning of the witness, Anthony Rosciano, by Detective Yuri Mellich and Sargent John Allen, “scandalous and incompetent and should not be allowed in any aspect of this case.”
Here I believe the defense may have a valid claim as the sexual relationship between Casey Anthony and Rosciano does not necessarily have any probative value as to the main charges. However, there are text messages between Rosciano and Casey that may have relevance. The text messages or emails may show how Casey Anthony handled Caylee’s care while she was dating. I seem to recall that the discussion with Rosciano as to what Casey would do with Caylee (while she is with Rosciano), could be indicative of a mother who had no regard of the welfare of her child.
I find it very interesting that the defense should ask to have the table knife found in Casey Anthony’s car excluded. Is there more evidence than we know about this knife? The defense notes in the motion that forensic testing found no link between the duct tape and the knife, and no DNA found on the knife. Apparently the State has not found a connection between the knife and the duct tape. The State released photos of the table knife and duct tape. See photos of knife / tape. Could the State still be testing this item?
To be honest, the request to exclude this item from the evidence in the case has me baffled. I would not be surprised if the State agrees and leaves the table knife out of evidence.
In this motion, the defense specifically names George Anthony and requests that any mention of lying or stealing be stricken. However, there are too many instances of lying and stealing during the 31 days that Caylee was “missing” and the defense is only asking that George Anthony and “other family members” discussions of lying and stealing be stricken.
This is a very vague motion that lacks specifics. There are an ocean of lies told by Casey Anthony, and revealed by her friends, family, and acquaintances. This motion, to be relevant, would need to be more specific, in my humble opinion. Therefore, the motion itself is a non-motion.
This motion is asking that any references to Casey Anthony nearly pointing on a map to indicate where she dumped Caylee, be stricken. You may recall that Texas EquuSearch president and founder, Tim Miller, was present when George Anthony nearly got Casey to indicate on a map where the body could be found but Cindy Anthony forcibly intervened and stopped the discussion. How the defense is characterizing this incident boils down to the following statement in the defense motion:
Based on Discovery Materials provided by the State, it is alleged that the Defendant was being questioned at home about Caylee and presented with a map. She was asked to mark where body would be found. She did not respond.
I tend to think that the State will have to have a good reason for bringing this testimony in. It could be unnecessarily prejudicial since there is no indication that Casey would have pointed to the area where Caylee was ultimately found. Granted, it is supposed that she would have pointed to the area had she not been prevented from doing so by Cindy Anthony. As such, I believe this scenario could be kept out of the trial, though the state likely has grounds to keep the testimony in.
This motion concerns the testimony of Brian Burner, the neighbor on Hope Spring Drive that Casey borrowed a shovel from. Like the other motions, the defense is arguing that this testimony has no bearing on the manner of the crime in this case and is therefore not relevant.
The defense puts its best foot forward in writing this motion and cites quite a bit of case law to support its argument.
The defense contends that there is no evidence linking the shovel to the crime and any connection made by the State to this effect would be prejudicial. In short, the motion boils down to this claim in the motion:
Similarly, whether or not Ms. Anthony borrowed a shovel from Mr. Burner does not in any way make the charged offenses more or less probable. There is no evidence that Ms. Anthony used or intended to use the borrowed shovel to facilitate the commission of the charged crimes, nor is there any assertion of such.
I tend to think the shovel will come in. The State will merely have to prove the fact that Casey Anthony was not living in the home at the time, and her excuse of “digging up a root” was merely a story to cover up the fact that she intended to bury Caylee’s body in the back yard. This testimony will hinge on whether the cadaver dogs will be used to show that a body was placed in the backyard of the Anthony home.
In truth, as I am writing this, I can see that the defense is simply doing their job and testing the admissibility of some of the most damaging evidence and testimony against Casey Anthony. The fact is, should the defense prevail with these motions, it will not matter to the case in chief. There is a great deal more evidence against Casey Anthony than is written in these six motions.
The State has a virtual plethora of circumstantial evidence which, taken in whole, is more than damning.
- No motion can disprove the fact that Caylee Anthony’s own mother never reported her missing. It was Casey Anthony’s mother, after 31 days, who reported the child missing.
- No motion can disprove the fact that Casey Anthony showed no alarm or concern about her missing child when she met with Law Enforcement, instead she lied about virtually everything having to do with the child’s whereabouts.
- No motion can disprove the pictures of Casey Anthony dancing and partying at Fusion while her child is missing.
- No motion can disprove that Casey Anthony got tattoo-ed with “the good life” blazoned on her back while her child is missing.
- No motion can disprove that the smell of decomposition was found in Casey Anthony’s car.
Finally, no motion can disprove the fact that Casey Anthony is ultimately the perpetrator of the murder of her own child.
First, I wanted to share with you a very telling segment from the Orlando Sheriff’s Office’s interview with River Cruz. (Video segment below.)
In this segment, River discusses the dynamics of Cindy and George’s relationship. She also discusses an argument about the $20,000 payment from Good Morning America that Cindy Anthony was supposed to get in advance of appearing on the show.
There is a very difficult and touching moment in this clip where River nearly breaks down and struggles to tell Detective Eric Edwards, and John Allen how George Anthony, crying, tells her that Caylee’s death was “an accident that snow-balled out of control.”
On other clips, River mentions that the Anthony’s never spoke about the case, or the search for Caylee in their home as they felt that Law Enforcement had their home bugged – wired for sound. As such, River and George never talked at the Anthony home.
It seems that George used River’s home as a refuge away from Cindy, who, according to River, often appeared sedated.
Regardless, I find that the Anthony’s were worried about LE “Bugs” completely shocking! Personally, I never wanted to believe that George or Cindy were really that ruthless or cunning or despicable.
If my niece were missing and if we were lucky enough to have the FBI helping our family to find the person culpable, God forbid, I can’t imagine being afraid of law enforcement during such a time! They would be allies and friends and we would look to them with reverence for caring about our child. I mean, that’s how anyone in this position would feel. Right?
But, not the Anthony’s. No, not the Anthony’s. From the time they realized they’d lost Caylee and they put the reality together in their broken minds that Casey was the one responsible, their actions became: Protect Casey. And then, the more the Anthony’s began to dissemble, it became: Protect us (Cindy and George) from culpability.
And George and Cindy, instead of going into seclusion to grieve, what do they do? They begin to blame LE for not working hard enough to find Caylee, who they know is deceased! They send the FBI and LE all over the country looking for Caylee when they knew she was gone. If that is not heartless, I do not know what is.
I have to tell you, I think the men and women in the Orlando Sheriff’s Office are incredible people. They are dedicated, passionate professionals who never, to this day, have lost sight of what is really important here: Justice for Caylee. I have listened to Eric Edwards, Yuri Mellich, John Allen, Appie Wells, and other fine investigators whose names I cannot recall, and I feel as if I know them. I think they are all wonderful men and women and I look forward to the day when justice is served and these fine people can go on to work on other missing children cases. God knows there are enough of these terrible cases out there.
On a separate note, there was an article in today’s Orlando Sentinel about the Orlando Public Defender’s Office’s clothing drive to assist indigent defendants. It appears that not only does Orlando have a fantastic State Attorney’s Office, but they have great people at their Public Defender’s Office, too.
It is a shame that Casey did not get a public defender to try her case. I know from personal experience that most public defenders are excellent attorney’s and they are guided and trained by dedicated attorneys in the Public Defender’s Office ranks. I know this because my brother was a public defender for a few years before he started his own criminal practice. Casey Anthony would not be in the mess she’s in now had a public defender been issued this case. Casey Anthony would not be staring at the death penalty through the barrel of a gun as she is now.
Every person, regardless of who they are – white, black; Hindu, Baptist, rich or poor – deserve to be innocent until proven guilty. So does Casey Anthony. Unfortunately, thanks to her hapless attorney who fans the flames of the Angel-Casey as if he were on a mountaintop blowing smoke signals that spell I-N-N-O-C-E-N-T, when we all know otherwise, is truly troubling. Attorney Baez, like the Anthony’s, needs to stop talking. He is making it worse for his client. His client is looking down the barrel of a gun that god forbid, is fired due to his ineptitude.
God help Casey Anthony and God Bless the fine women and men in public service in Orlando.
WARNING River uses harsh language when quoting George Anthony.
Today’s document release in the case against Casey Anthony included more video and audio than documents.
There were quite a number of new details regarding what River Cruz had to share with regards to George Anthony.
To say that today’s release of information was rather dramatic, is putting it mildly. A great deal of damning information was revealed. So much so that George Anthony’s attorney released the following statement with regards to the allegations of his affair with River Cruz:
1. At no time did George Anthony request $20,000 from Holloway/Cruz.
2. At no time did George Anthony become “more than friends” with Holloway/Cruz.
3. At no time did George Anthony attack his daughter during the time that she was released from jail on bond.
4. At no time did George Anthony grab Casey Anthony around the neck or throw her against a wall.
5. At no time did George Anthony confide any of his opinions or thoughts to Holloway/Cruz regarding this case.
Given what River had to say about the dynamics within the Anthony clan, it is fairly safe to assume that Law Enforcement (LE) may be focusing on George Anthony’s actions in this case.
Of course I have no way of knowing this, but one could safely glean from the tenor of the LE interviews, there is clear interest in what George Anthony said and did in the early days of the case. For instance, in the early days of the case, George was quite cooperative with LE. Then, after the bond hearing, he began to seriously dissemble and reneged on everything he’d claimed in the early days. You may recall that in his early discussions with LE and the FBI, he discussed the smell of decomposition in the Pontiac Sunfire driven by Casey, as well as his doubt that Casey was being truthful, and his initial skepticism about the existence of Zanny the Nanny, and more.
Now, of course, George is riding a horse of a different color and, is playing two sides against the middle. George was publicly supporting his daughter, but according to River he was also hiding a great deal about what he thought or knew about what happened to Caylee.
First of all, George’s motivations for covering for Casey boils down to her statement to LE: “He’s lost one girl (Caylee), and he doesn’t want to loose another (Casey). Is this his motivation to do or say what ever it takes to protect Casey?
River stated that George clearly believed that whatever happened to Caylee was an accident. According to River, he (George) said the baby’s death was an accident that spun out of control – that snowballed out of control.
George Anthony inferred to River that the death was an accident that Casey tried to cover it up until it got too big.
In the two River Cruz interviews with John Allen, Eric Edwards, and Yuri Mellich, the detectives are intent on finding out how George knew it was an “accident” and at one point River says she thought that maybe Casey confessed to George about “the accident”, but she’s clearly not sure.
Some of the topics that River discussed, and that I found particularly interesting, are:
- River began slowly to see that the Anthony’s were using people and that their search for Caylee was never in earnest.
- George never searched, the times he claimed he was searching or looking for work, he spent with River.
- George Anthony was a media hound. River describes having some of the local news reporters on his speed dial and would constantly call the media.
- The Anthony’s were motivated by money. During a Good Morning America interview in which they were going to earn $20,000, George allegedly called Cindy, furiously yelling at her for not getting the money upfront for the appearance on Good Morning America. “I told you to get the F*cking money first, ” River said she heard George exclaim over the phone.
- George led River to believe that he was destitute for money and needed help putting food on the table.
- George Anthony grabbed Casey around the neck, shook her, threw her against the wall. Cindy had to intervene and get George off of Casey.
- George once told River the home was paid off, but later claimed he was loosing his home and asked for $20,000 from River.
- Cindy was sedated a lot, and was not doing well. River would bring her flowers constantly.
- River gave George, in total, about $4,000, she says.
- During the search for Caylee, River would, on a daily basis, put $20 into the donation canister to help support the search for Caylee until she realized it was going to Kid Finders. After hearing this, she began to give the money directly to George.
- George told River that Casey made up Juliette Lewis.
- George told River he loved her. Text messages stated he needed her in his life.
- River believes that both Cindy and George used, in their depositions in the civil case, a description of River to describe Zanny the Nanny. (Curly hair that is straightened, perfect teeth, a tattoo down her arm, good build, a perfect 10, matches River.)
Needless to say, River Cruz’s remarks to LE paint a very sordid picture of George Anthony. It paints him, frankly, as lacking scruples, as desperate, and willing to say or do anything to deceive and save Casey.
Oh George! No wonder you’ve been hiding lately.