Casey Anthony filed for bankruptcy Friday afternoon in an Orlando, Fla., court, more than a year after being acquitted of murdering her daughter Caylee in a sensational trial that angered many Americans who believed she was guilty. Anthony is facing insurmountable debt and three civil suits related to Caylee’s disappearance, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Anthony told the Orlando court she only has $1,408 to her name but owes nearly $800,000, later adding that bankruptcy protection is “the next step toward closure” for her.
During her trial Anthony claimed she was innocent in her daughter’s death because a babysitter, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, supposedly kidnapped Caylee.
Now a woman with the same name has taken Anthony to court, citing defamation because of the high publicity around the trial. Gonzalez’s attorney, Matt Morgan, accused Anthony of filing for bankruptcy in order to avoid paying Gonzalez, which he vowed to prevent.
“To some extent she feels, she feels bad that she's having to have all these legal services provided to her and she is unable to compensate anyone," said Anthony’s attorney Andy Chmelir. "So she wants closure more than anything else."
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The Associated Press reported Anthony’s debts included:
“$500,000 for attorney fees and costs for her criminal defense lawyer during the trial, Jose Baez; $145,660 for the Orange County Sheriff's Office for a judgment covering investigative fees and costs related to the case; $68,540 for the Internal Revenue Service for taxes, interest and penalties; and $61,505 for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for court costs.”
Anthony is listed as unemployed but court papers indicated she was in debt to at least 80 creditors, mostly for psychiatric, medical and legal services, although a scuba diving charge was listed as well.
She was acquitted of murdering Caylee, 2 years old at the time of her death, but was convicted on four counts of lying to detectives, eventually being sentenced to time served in those charges. Anthony’s location since the trial has been kept secret because of the national outrage that came when she wasn’t convicted.
In November prosecutors in Anthony’s case admitted they had overlooked evidence that might have led to a conviction had it been discussed at trial. Detectives missed a search on Anthony’s computer for “foolproof suffocation” because they only checked the history on one of her Internet browsers.
“It's just a shame we didn't have it. This certainly would have put the accidental-death claim in serious question,” said prosecutor Jeff Ashton. “I don't think it's appropriate for me to say this person messed up, that person messed up, or we messed up.”