Casey Anthony: Does Defense have to Prove Sordid Allegations?

By Hal Boedeker | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted May 30, 2011

Does Casey Anthony's defense team have to prove "these sordid allegations of sexual abuse" for the jury?

The question was posed tonight by WESH-Channel 2's Bob Kealing.

Judge O.H. Eaton Jr., the station's legal analyst, gave an answer that viewers could interpret several ways. "Actually, they don't have to prove what they said. They just have to raise a reasonable doubt about it," Eaton said.

But Eaton reconsidered and added, "You're right. If they don't present something that makes sense, why I think the jury will discount it."

Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee. The trial's second week begins Tuesday. In the defense opening statement, attorney Jose Baez accused Casey's father, George, of sexually abusing her.

WFTV-Channel 9 legal analyst Bill Sheaffer previewed the coming week and predicted that Cindy Anthony's 911 call will lead into testimony from law enforcement officers. Sheaffer also predicted that Casey Anthony will cry when Caylee is discussed -- and Sheaffer described that as something she's been instructed to do by her attorneys.

WFTV's Jeff Deal added that Sheaffer says Casey's "acting falls flat when she can't maintain her emotion for very long."

What do you think about that?

WKMG's Erik von Ancken studied Cindy Anthony's time on the stand Saturday. "Throughout her entire testimony, she looks mostly straight ahead at prosecutors, sometimes to the right where the jury is seated, but never to the left where Casey is seated," von Ancken said.

Von Ancken added that during other sessions in court Casey has interacted with her parents: They have smiled at each other. Or Cindy has waved at her daughter.

The change, von Ancken said, in a memorable bit of writing: "Cindy knows there is no Zanny the nanny, as Casey pretended there was for years. And Cindy knows that Casey's strategy to save herself from the death penalty is to claim abuse, telling the world that Cindy's husband and Cindy's son sexually abused Casey. Whether those allegations are true or not, they're awful -- awfully public now and for Cindy awfully painful."

WKMG anchor Lauren Rowe asked legal analyst Mark NeJame how defense attorney Jose Baez would cross examine Cindy Anthony. "More of the same," NeJame predicted, adding that he had been "very, very unimpressed" with the defense.

"Casey's been providing the information to her counsel, which allows for cross examination," NeJame said. "It's not been very pretty, at least from the defense perspective. It's one thing after another. Her story seems to be preposterous."

NeJame praised the state for dividing the questioning among three prosecutors. "What I don't understand is why Mr. Baez, the least experienced person of the defense team, is the one carrying all the cross examination," NeJame said.

NeJame said the prosecution had to be "extremely happy" with Cindy's testimony Saturday. NeJame predicted that the prosecution would stick to its timeline in laying out the case.

There will be a hearing early Tuesday to determine if Lee Anthony, Casey's brother, can sit in court for his sister's murder trial. Chief Judge Belvin Perry has allowed George and Cindy Anthony to sit through their daughter's trial even though they're witnesses. Lee Anthony will be a witness as well.