Casey Anthony: How did Jose Baez do on Cross Examination?

By Hal Boedeker | Orlando Sentinel
Posted May, 24 2011 6:34 PM

Casey Anthony's defense team - specifically Jose Baez - was drawing withering reviews for the cross examination of George Anthony this afternoon.

"The defense was obviously not prepared," said WKMG-Channel 6 legal analyst Mark NeJame. "It's because they were so unprepared, it ended it early. It ended it on a high for the prosecution on the first day.

WKMG legal analyst Mark O'Mara was astounded that the defense wasn't ready for the cross examination of the star witness in the case. O'Mara said that Baez's approach should have been: "I'm ready to rip apart the dad who abused my client.

WOFL-Channel 35 legal analyst Diana Tennis said the state put George Anthony on the stand first to take the sting out the defense's allegation that George had abused Casey. "He seemed pretty straightforward and I think pretty credible," Tennis said of George. But she added that Baez's cross examination exposed that the Anthonys seem to be in denial just about everything.

WFTV-Channel 9 reporter Kathi Belich said that Baez "tried to hammer George with questions, but Chief Judge Belvin Perry stopped it. The defense accused George of sexually abusing Casey from when she was a child and claimed it got worse as she got older. They tried to use it explain Casey's lies.

Casey Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee.

WESH-Channel 2's Bob Kealing said that Baez "seemed to fumble" in questioning George and that "by the end of the day, the jury seemed to be tiring a little bit of what appeared to be miscues.

Kealing highlighted Baez's claim that George had found Caylee's body in the swimming pool and yelled at Casey afterward. On the witness stand, George denied that and said when he heard that accusation "it hurt really bad." WKMG offered a fast recap of George denying the defense's claims that he had knowledge about his granddaughter's death.

How did the opening statements rate? WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the defense "told a compelling new story today" that "doesn't completely ring true," Belich said. But Sheaffer said the prosecution's opening statement was "powerful and even cast suspicion on Casey's new claims," Belich added.

Yet by day's end, the focus had shifted to Baez's questioning of George. WKMG's NeJame cited Baez's "lack of experience for such a big case" and described it as a "horrendous" cross examination.

WKMG's O'Mara predicted that Baez will have to have Casey Anthony testify, because she has to talk about the alleged sexual abuse.

NeJame predicted that the defense couldn't rebound from the bad first impression. But O'Mara said there are a lot of rounds to go.

WOFL's Tennis agreed there was a long way to go. "It's going to go up and down, it's going to continue to be an amusement ride, if you will," she said. "If the defense can get everybody obsessed with was she sexually abused, was it the pool, was it not the pool, at the end they're going to be able to say, 'You know what? You don't know. If you don't know, it's not guilty.' "

Source: Orlando Sentinel