Defamation lawsuits filed against acquitted murder suspect Casey Anthony will be heard in bankruptcy court instead of a state court.
Anthony’s lawyers requested that the pair of defamation suits be heard as part of her bankruptcy proceedings. A judge sided with the argument, and questioned why Zenaida Gonzalez and Roy Kronk are even going forward with their cases since it’s unlikely Anthony can repay them damages if she loses the lawsuits.
Anthony’s bankruptcy attorneys want the bankruptcy judge to decide whether the claims would be discharged as part of her bankruptcy.
Gonzalez’s defamation suit claims Anthony damaged her character by accusing a nanny with a similar name of kidnapping her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
Kronk, who is also suing for defamation, was the meter reader who discovered Caylee’s body about five months after the toddler was reported missing by Anthony. His lawsuit contends Anthony’s lawyer, Anthony Baez, defamed him by suggesting that Kronk was involved in Caylee’s murder.
Gonzalez and Kronk filed their suits in Orange County Circuit Court, but U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Rodney May ruled Tuesday that the lawsuits will be heard in his court in Tampa.
Anthony, who filed for bankruptcy protection in January, appears to be “destitute,” May said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Her bankruptcy filing indicated that she had $1,100 in assets and $792,000 in liabilities. Most of those liabilities were attorney fees, including $500,000 for Baez. She also owes more than $145,000 to the Orange County sheriff’s office for investigative fees and costs related to the investigation into Caylee’s disappearance.
The plaintiffs have yet to file their defamation suits in bankruptcy court. They have 21 days from the ruling to do so.
Anthony, 27, was found not guilty of murdering Caylee in July 2011 in a verdict that shocked Florida and the entire country.
Anthony has stayed out of the public eye since the trial, although she was spotted in Ohio a month after being set free.