Casey Anthony's former lawyer, Jose Baez, has released a book about his time defending the Florida woman who was found not guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter.
Presumed Guilty -- Casey Anthony: The Inside Story was published by BenBella Books and released on July 3. Baez's cowriter on the book was sports author Peter Golenbock.
In July of 2011, Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her daughter, although she was found guilty on four counts of lying to law enforcement. The public outcry was so heated that a judge ordered the jurors' names concealed until October of that year, although more than one jury member spoke before then.
Now Baez is out with his own version of the story. Like it or not, here are a few points from Presumed Guilty.
Not Your Average Inmate
Baez described meeting Anthony for the first time and how different she looked from his typical clients. He described her as an attractive and hip-looking girl who looked out of place in jail.
She wasn't your typical inmate, he wrote. She was dressed in jail blues but very well kept. Most of my clients, both male and female, are a little rougher around the edges, more street-wise. That was not Casey. In this business, you mostly run across people who have been through the system. They're much more hardened. I could see Casey was a first-timer.
Selling Photos Of Caylee
Baez defends Casey Anthony's decision to sell photographs in order to raise money for her own defense. (He wrote that she was paid $200,000 by a national news organization for photos of her and her daughter and used most of it for her legal costs.) That money, he argues, allowed them to do things like hire the necessary people to help her.
Of course, when the media found out, she was roundly criticized for it -- unfairly if you ask me, Baez wrote. Whenever a person faces a serious criminal charge and the potential loss of freedom, that person sells whatever assets he or she possesses -- their home, their car, expensive paintings, stocks and bonds -- anything to mount a defense against the charges. And it's a darn good thing Casey was able to do this. Without that money, we wouldn't have been able to do a lot of the things we needed to do to fight her case.
Baez wrote that he was shocked by the lack of support Anthony had. She didn't even seem to have family members who cared for her (he wrote that her own family threw her to the wolves) and that no one offered up money for her defense or even words of encouragement.
Despite all of the Anthonys' showboating for the media about Casey's innocence, they never put their money where their mouths were, he wrote. Yet they sold pictures of Casey and Caylee to CBS for $20,000 and took that money and went on a lavish cruise. Not a penny was spent to save their daughter, who was facing the death penalty. I have clients who are migrant farmworkers who don't have a decent place to live but who each week, like clockwork, come in and hand me 50 bucks in cash, or even 20, to help a family member in need of legal help. This was truly a first for me.
Finding Caylee's Remains
Baez described what happened as it was announced that Caylee's remains were found. He went to the jail where Anthony was being held but was initially denied access to his client on the grounds that she had to get medical care first.
What was really going on, Baez wrote, was that police took Anthony to the medical unit so that they could film her reaction as she watched the news that her daughter's remains had been found. Baez wrote that Anthony's legs and hands were shackled and that she watched the news while surrounded by correctional officers and nurses. He added that the video showed Anthony breathing heavily, hyperventilating and doubling over and that she was in a great deal of emotional and mental pain. And he stated that a nurse put a stop to it after 10 minutes, saying the young woman had had enough.
Clearly, this was a violation of her right to counsel and what two of the correctional officers would later testify to be cruel and unusual punishment, Baez wrote. It was another end around, where the police were trying to get something from her. In my opinion, it was one of the cruelest stunts I have ever seen the police pull on someone. They made her watch the worst tabloid channel -- WFTV Channel 9, the local ABC affiliate -- a channel so inflammatory it was just a notch below Nancy Grace.
(On a lighter note, Baez's book contains a photograph of him puckering up to a cardboard cutout of the television personality, who covered the Casey Anthony case, with the caption Nancy Grace and I kiss and make up.)
Picking Barbara Walters
Baez was celebrating the not guilty verdict at a restaurant when he was contacted on his cell phone by media and told he could have his pick of correspondents for his first post-trial interview. He wanted Barbara Walters.
A few years earlier, I had watched her interview Tom Mesereau after he had won the Michael Jackson case, the biggest trial of all time, and I said to myself, One day I'd like to be in that position. If I were to work hard, I would hope my talents would be recognized.
He wrote that within 20 minutes a call came in. Walters wanted to talk to him.
Concerned For Her Future
Baez writes that he is no longer representing Anthony and that he is concerned for her future.
I just hope if Casey does stay in this country that one day she will be allowed to live in peace, he wrote. She was found not guilty by a jury of her peers, by a jury that made so many sacrifices, and to attack her and to criticize her after she had the finality of a trial is not justice. It goes against everything that we as Americans believe in.
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