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Casey’s Lawyers Ask Judge to Dismiss Claims

Check out the report below from the You Could Be Wrong blog:

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As Casey Anthony’s bankruptcy proceedings enter their 10th month (she filed in January), she asked a judge Thursday to dismiss Roy Kronk and Zenaida Gonzalez’s claims in her bankruptcy case, saying they are without merit.  Both Zenaida Gonzaelz and Roy Kronk claim Anthony defamed them and they should be considered creditors in the bankruptcy case.  Anthony asked in the dual motions for the “fresh start” she is promised by law.

“This travesty has gone on long enough,” Anthony’s lawyers argue in both new motions, “Ms. Anthony implores the Court to end this matter so she can begin the fresh start she is promised by the law.”

Casey Anthony told detectives during a 2008 investigation that a woman named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, her nanny for 2 years, kidnapped her 2-year-old daughter.  Gonzalez said she was defamed because of the similar name.  Investigators determined that there was no nanny and charged Anthony with murder.  Casey Anthony was eventually acquitted at trial of the most serious charges relating to her daughter’s disappearance and death.

Casey Anthony - July 2011

Anthony’s lawyers write in their new motion that Gonzalez’s claim is based entirely on privileged conversations with law enforcement and out-of-context comments Anthony made to her mother.  Roy Kronk found Caylee Anthony’s remains near the Anthony home.  He claims he was defamed when Jose Baez made “false statements” about him.  Anthony’s attorneys argue that Kronk is suing based upon protected privileged comments made by Jose Baez.  Besides, under bankruptcy law, a person “cannot be liable for statements of someone else.”

“Over the years, many persons have pursued actions in which they sought to profit, one way or another, from Ms. Anthony’s ordeal,” her attorney, David Schrader, wrote in the motion, “All of the claimants have been rebuffed and turned away empty-handed, though most of them enjoyed their ‘fifteen minutes’ of fame while their claims were pending, which was the real objective.”

Charles Green, Anthony’s civil attorney and Debra Ferwerda Anthony’s lead bankruptcy attorney, said their client never willfully or maliciously defamed Kronk, a meter reader, or Gonzalez, both are required for a defamation lawsuit.

“Casey Anthony specifically says when asked by the police ‘Is this the Zenaida Gonzalez you are referring to?’ she says, ‘No, that’s not the same person.’  She’s not talking about that Zenaida Gonzalez.  Never was.  Kronk is suing on what Jose Baez said in his closing arguments.  He’s suing Casey for something her attorney said, which just can’t be done.  Plus, what is said in court is protected,” said Ferwerda.

Casey Anthony is set to be deposed by Zenaida Gonzalez’s attorneys, her attorneys told FOX35 on Thursday that they will likely file a motion for protective order until after November 5th, the date the federal judge is expected to rule on the motions to dismiss.  Texas Equusearch, another group civilly suing Anthony, may be nearing a settlement with her, according to a recent court filing.

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Immaculate Deception - The Untold Story of Caylee Marie Anthony


Casey declares bankruptcy (talks exclusively to CBS 5)

From Phoenix CBS 5:

“Casey Anthony filed for bankruptcy protection late Friday night in Florida.

This move brings all of Anthony’s civil cases currently under way in Florida state court to a complete halt.

“This is the next step towards closure for me,” said Anthony in a phone conversation Friday evening.

Anthony is listed as a defendant in three civil suits in Orange County, FL. The most notable of those being the suit brought by a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez. Gonzalez claims Anthony defamed her when Anthony told Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies in July 2008 that a fictitious nanny named “Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez” kidnapped her daughter Caylee.

The Gonzalez lawsuit, brought on behalf of the Orlando-based Morgan and Morgan law firm seeks unspecified damages.

“She needs closure in this matter in order to move on with her life,” said Anthony’s civil attorney, Charles Greene.

In a brief conversation with Anthony on Friday night, she told CBS 5 she was hopeful the Gonzalez case would have been behind her at this point.

The case was originally scheduled to go to trial earlier this month, but attorneys for Gonzalez were granted a continuance by the judge. No new trial date has been set.

“These are the things holding me back,” said Anthony. “This is the key for me to move forward.”

Shortly before the phone conversation with Anthony, Greene was adamant that Anthony would not discuss any of the details surrounding her open legal cases.

The bankruptcy was filed in the Middle District of Florida because Anthony has lived somewhere in central Florida for 180 days. Her parents’ address is listed as her home address, though Greene says that she is not living with them. He says that address was listed because it was her most recent permanent address.

CBS 5 broke the story in September that Anthony had moved out of Florida, but Greene says she left only for a short time and then returned because of logistic and financial reasons.

The publication of this story marks the first time Anthony has spoken with a news reporter on the record since her daughter’s death in 2008.

Despite a ruling from Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeals, Anthony’s 5th Amendment protections against self-incrimination still apply because her criminal team has yet to decide if they will file for a rehearing or appeal the outstanding issues to the Florida Supreme Court.

The appeals court Friday tossed out two of the four misdemeanor convictions against Anthony. She was convicted in July 2011 of four counts of lying to law enforcement.

“This (bankruptcy filing) has nothing to do with yesterday’s decision by the 5th Circuit (Court of Appeals),” said Greene. “This document took weeks to prepare. Casey’s legal team has deliberated over this since the trial was continued, and even before then.”

The decision to file for bankruptcy does not mean Anthony’s state court legal issues go away immediately. Attorneys for Zenaida Gonzalez – and others making claims against Anthony – would have to prove to a federal judge the damages they seek are “nondischargeable,” meaning she would owe money despite the bankruptcy filing.

Additionally, according to the bankruptcy documents filed, the possible financial claims against Anthony include:

$500,000 – Attorney Jose Baez

$60,505 – Florida Department of Law Enforcement

$68,540 – Internal Revenue Service

$10,283 – Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation

$145,660 – Orange County Sheriff’s Office

Anthony’s total assets, according to the 60-page filing are listed at less than $1,100 and her liabilities total more than $792,119.

“All the civil cases and people making potential claims have put her (Casey) in a position where bankruptcy is the only option,” says Greene.

The bankruptcy documents list nearly 100 names and organizations that could potentially pursue claims against Anthony. Many of the names included are the defense experts who testified on her behalf during her murder trial.

“The public doesn’t know all the people who have come out of the crawl spaces attempting to make claims against Casey,” said Greene. “There are other lawsuits, other potential claims and her freedom is restricted.”

Those individuals and organizations listed in the bankruptcy document would have to file a claim in federal court in order to get money from Casey Anthony.

Ultimately, that means a bankruptcy judge could be the person who decides the merits of the civil cases against Anthony.

“Casey hoped the (Zenaida Gonzalez) civil case would be over in January. This has been an ongoing battle for close to five years,” said Greene. “Emotionally and physically, she can’t go on for another year. She needs a clean slate from a financial perspective.”

Anthony tells CBS 5 that although she values the close relationship she has with her attorneys, she does not like to be “joined at the hip” with them. She described her legal advisors to be “like family” to her.

“She (Casey) feels it’s unfair for this process to drag on. We were ready to go to trial on Jan. 2, and there’s no new trial date. She wanted be vindicated in the civil (Gonzalez) case,” said Greene.

Anthony will be required to give sworn testimony in the bankruptcy proceedings, but Greene says the scope of questioning is limited to financial matters.

Greene says not to expect any surprises.

“There are no contracts, no movie or book deals,” says Greene.

The goal for anyone going through bankruptcy proceedings is to give a person a “fresh start.” The process from start to finish could take 90 to 120 days, or perhaps longer, depending on the number of people who bring claims against Anthony.”

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Great to see the tide finally turning for Casey as she prepares to move forward with her life.


Team Casey re-files request to throw out ZG’s punitive damages claim

From Orlando Sentinel, 11-19-2012:

Attorneys for Casey Anthony are again seeking to limit the damages Zenaida Gonzalez can pursue in her civil defamation lawsuit.

Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon denied Anthony’s previous attempt to throw out Gonzalez’s claim for punitive damages, ruling that defense attorney Charles Greene hadn’t filed the proper type of motion. Munyon left open the possibility of Greene refiling his pleading, and the defense did that last week.

“Based on, among other things, the fact that neither party knew the other, had a history of ill will towards the other, or was otherwise even aware of the other’s existence, [Gonzalez] cannot present sufficient evidence to satisfy the specific and mandatory requirements” for pursuing punitive damages, the new motion says.

In another recent filing, Anthony’s defense has asked the judge to bar from the civil defamation trial any reference to the death of Anthony’s daughter, 2-year-old Caylee, in 2008.

The defense argues that “the death of Caylee Anthony is not relevant to any issue in this case,” noting that the suit was filed before Caylee’s body was even found. “The claim here is defamation, not wrongful death.”

That filing is the latest of a slew of motions by Anthony’s legal team to block testimony from the civil suit. The suit was set for trial in January, but Munyon last week granted a motion to delay it indefinitely so Anthony’s appeal of her convictions for lying to law enforcement — which she has cited to avoid answering questions in the lawsuit — can play out.

Judge denies Casey’s request to move ZG’s BS civil trial

From Orlando Sentinel, 11-6-2012:

“When Casey Anthony goes to trial in her civil defamation lawsuit, it will be at the same courthouse where she was acquitted of murder last year, a judge ruled today.

Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon has denied Anthony’s request to move her trial away from Orlando. But her ruling allows the parties to revisit the issue if difficulties arise in jury selection.

The ruling comes a week after Anthony’s attorney, Charles Greene, argued at a hearing that it’s an “impossibility, I submit, that Ms. Anthony can get a fair trial in Orange County.”

He argued the jury pool would be better somewhere “north of Orlando,” such as Tallahassee or Gainesville.

“We had hoped that the publicity in this case would subside after the criminal case,” he said. “It has not.”

Keith Mitnik, an attorney for Zenaida Gonzalez, the woman suing Anthony, said he didn’t mind moving the trial, “so long as the defense is willing to pay this expense” of relocating.

“We think we can get justice anywhere,” Mitnik said. He argued, however, that a venue change was unnecessary.

Greene also noted that Munyon isn’t the first judge asked to decide whether Central Florida is too jaded to judge Anthony fairly: The same issue came up before her murder trial. Chief Judge Belvin Perry ordered jury selection in that case relocated to Pinellas County, due to pretrial publicity.

But Munyon, foreshadowing today’s ruling, countered that Perry’s order “was entered almost two and a half years ago.”

The trial is set for January. Gonzalez says her life was upended after Anthony said a similarly named nanny had kidnapped her daughter, 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, in 2008. The nanny didn’t exist, and the girl was later found dead.

Anthony was acquitted on all major charges in her daughter’s death in July 2011, after a trial that was broadcast gavel-to-gavel across the country and online. She has been subpoenaed to appear at the civil trial.”



Judge rules on Casey’s audio tapes

From Orlando Sentinel, 11-6-2012:

“Casey Anthony will have to answer questions about what happened to audio recordings she made after her murder acquittal last year, a judge in her defamation suit ruled Tuesday.

Anthony mentioned the recordings in a video diary she made that leaked online in January. Attorneys for Zenaida Gonzalez, who is suing Anthony, hope the audio may be relevant to their suit.

The judge previously conditionally granted Gonzalez’s request for the audio tapes, but Anthony’s lawyers responded that they don’t exist.

At a hearing Tuesday, Anthony’s attorney Charles Greene for the first time gave a detailed account of what came of the audio, as well as additional video diaries Anthony made.

Greene said Anthony “was spending a lot of time in isolation” while living in hiding late last year. Her lawyers told her it might be “therapeutic” to make a record of her thoughts, Greene said.

He said the advice was “consistent with the advice of psychotherapists.”

The video diaries were posted on “what we thought was a secure website where communications with Ms. Anthony and her counsel were maintained,” Greene said.

But when a diary leaked online in January, “We destroyed everything on the website,” he said. The audio tapes, he said, were “practice” for the video diaries, and “were never preserved.”

Gonzalez attorney Keith Mitnik didn’t accept that explanation.

“How believable is this, coming from her?” he said of Anthony. He said the defendant, who was convicted of lying to authorities, has shifted her account of what happened to the audio repeatedly.

“She has decided she doesn’t want you to look at them,” Mitnik told Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon.

Munyon granted the request to depose Anthony, but said that “all the same safeguards” from her prior deposition in the suit — she answered questions remotely via video — will remain in place.

The case is set for trial in January, and court filings have been piling up from both sides. Another hearing in the case is set for Wednesday afternoon.

Gonzalez says her life was upended after Anthony said a similarly named nanny had kidnapped her daughter in 2008. The nanny didn’t exist, according to authorities, and the girl was dead.



ZG Update: Hearing ends without decision on moving civil trial

From Orlando Sentinel 10/30:

“Casey Anthony’s attorneys on Tuesday made their case for moving her upcoming civil defamation trial out of Orlando, but a hearing on the issue ended without a ruling.

After a brief hearing, Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon said she’d issue a written ruling on the request later.

Anthony’s lawyer Charles Greene argued it’s an “impossibility, I submit, that Ms. Anthony can get a fair trial in Orange County.”

“We had hoped that the publicity in this case would subside after the criminal case,” he said. “It has not.”

He cited a weekend story in the Orlando Sentinel about the hearing as evidence media attention has not waned.

He also noted that Munyon isn’t the first judge asked to decide whether Central Florida is too jaded to judge Anthony fairly: The same issue came up before her murder trial.

Chief Judge Belvin Perry’s order, which relocated jury selection in the criminal case, was submitted by Anthony’s team in support of their motion.

Munyon noted that order “was entered almost two and a half years ago.” Greene countered that “the media barrage continues.”

Greene’s preferred destinations: Somewhere “north of Orlando,” he said, such as Tallahassee or Gainesville.

Keith Mitnik, an attorney for Zenaida Gonzalez, the woman suing Anthony, responded to the motion frankly: “We don’t care.”

“We think we can get justice anywhere,” Mitnik said. He said the venue change isn’t needed, but he wouldn’t object “so long as the defense is willing to pay this expense” of relocating.

Citing guidelines which say the party asking for a change of venue must pay the “accrued” cost, Mitnik said it would be unfair for Anthony to stick taxpayers with the bill.

Greene said Anthony is indigent, and the statute Mitnik cited is “poorly worded.” It was only meant to refer to transfer fees, he said, not other expenses, like moving court personnel.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez’s lawyers have filed a motion asking Munyon to allow them to question Anthony about audio recordings they say she made.

Anthony referenced the recordings in a video diary that leaked online in January. Gonzalez’s team wants them, but Anthony’s lawyers say they don’t have them.

Gonzalez wants “to determine what has happened to the audio tape(s) and if they have been destroyed after the request was made,” her new motion says.

The trial is set for January. Gonzalez says her life was upended after Anthony said a similarly named nanny had kidnapped her daughter in 2008.

Authorities later determined that the nanny never existed, and the girl, 2-year-old Caylee, was dead. But Gonzalez was linked to the high-profile case in the media.

Anthony was ultimately acquitted on all major charges in her daughter’s death in July 2011.”


Team Casey asks judge to throw our ZG’s punitive damages BS claim

From OS, 10/9/2012:

“Attorneys for Casey Anthony in a pair of new court filings continue their attempt to limit testimony in her upcoming civil defamation trial, and also to limit the amount of money Anthony could be ordered to pay if she loses.

In a new motion filed Monday, Anthony’s lawyers ask the judge to throw out Zenaida Gonzalez’s claim for punitive damages — essentially, an additional penalty meant to punish Anthony.

Based on the evidence and argument presented in the lawsuit so far, “there is insufficient evidence to support a claim that Ms. Anthony is personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence,” Anthony’s defense says.

Gonzalez filed suit after Anthony told detectives a similarly named nanny had kidnapped her daughter, 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, in 2008. Authorities interviewed Gonzalez, and she was linked to the case in the media.

Anthony’s defense argues the crux of the suit is a visit Anthony’s mother, Cindy, made to her daughter while Casey Anthony was in jail.

Casey Anthony, Gonzalez’s lawyers argue, told her mother Gonzalez had not been ruled out as a suspect in Caylee’s disappearance, and Cindy Anthony relayed that information to reporters, thrusting Gonzalez into a media firestorm.

Gonzalez “must allege and prove that both [Cindy Anthony] and [Casey Anthony] participated in the egregious conduct” in order to have a viable claim for punitive damages, the new defense motion states.

“[Gonzalez] has failed to plead or prove that… Cindy Anthony, purposefully or recklessly uttered a false statement about her,” Anthony’s defense argues.

In a separate filing, Anthony’s lawyers also asked Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon to prevent Gonzalez’s lawyers from arguing at trial that Anthony’s actions had a negative impact on Gonzalez’s children

In interviews, Gonzalez has said that being linked to the ultra-high-profile case upended her life and those of her children. But Anthony’s lawyers argue the impact on Gonzalez’s children is irrelevant and inadmissible.

“The ‘impact’ on Plaintiff’s children cannot be used to bolster the frivolous claims that have been brought in this lawsuit,” a new defense motion states.

The lawsuit is currently set for trial in January.


Hopefully the whole case will get thrown out by the end of the year.

ZG case – latest update

From OS, 10-4-2012:

“Attorneys for Zenaida Gonzalez agreed in principle on Thursday to not mention Casey Anthony’s murder trial during her upcoming defamation trial, if they can avoid it.

However, the murder trial could be mentioned on specific topics individually approved by the judge, such as to challenge the testimony of witnesses.

Anthony’s murder trial was among the most talked-about in Central Florida’s history. So her lawyers wanted the judge to block any mention of that notorious case from her upcoming trial in Gonzalez’s defamation lawsuit.

Attorneys for Anthony and Gonzalez discussed that issue Thursday morning at the Orange County Courthouse, and the two parties largely agreed — something they haven’t done often in the hard-fought suit.

“I don’t foresee us in a civil case saying, ‘X, Y and Z happened in the criminal case,'” Gonzalez attorney John Dill said.

Anthony’s attorney Charles Greene, meanwhile, acknowledged that “there may be points where something about the criminal proceedings come up indirectly.”

The parties agreed that they would have to bring up the murder trial during jury selection, in order to determine the extent of jurors’ knowledge of the case. After that, any references will have to be cleared by the judge.

In their motion, Anthony’s attorneys had asked Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon to block “any evidence, comment, or other reference by counsel of any witness in this case concerning” Anthony’s highly publicized murder prosecution and trial.

“The criminal proceedings are not relevant to any issue in this case,” the defense wrote in its motion. “Moreover, any evidence, comment, or reference to the criminal proceedings… would be unduly prejudicial to Ms. Anthony.”

In July 2011, Anthony, now 26, was acquitted on all major charges in the death of her daughter, 2-year-old Caylee. Gonzalez is suing because Anthony initially told authorities in 2008 that a similarly named nanny had kidnapped Caylee.

Authorities determined, and Anthony’s criminal defense acknowledged at trial, that the girl was dead, and the nanny didn’t exist.

The motion was based on a ruling by Munyon in April, which threw out part of Gonzalez’s lawsuit. The part that remains centers on a videotaped visit Anthony’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony, made while their daughter was in jail.

In the video, Anthony denied that she had ruled Gonzalez out as a suspect. Gonzalez’s lawyers say Cindy Anthony relayed that information to the media, thrusting their client further into the media firestorm surrounding the case.

The suit is currently set for trial in January, but both parties indicated they have more motions to file and argue. The next court date in the case is Oct. 30, when Anthony’s team will argue to move the trial away from central Florida.

Anthony remains in hiding, as she has been since her acquittal. She has been subpoenaed to appear at the civil trial. ”



Team Casey request change of venue for ZG’s BS case

From WFTV:

“WFTV learned Monday that Casey Anthony is asking for a change of venue in her civil case.

Zenaida Gonzalez is suing Anthony for telling investigators a nanny by the same name kidnapped Anthony’s daughter Caylee in 2008.

Deputies later determined Caylee was dead and the nanny never existed.

In the court motion WFTV obtained Thursday night, Anthony’s attorneys claim she can’t get a fair trial in Orange County, and that Gonzalez’s legal team admitted that on television.”

Click here to read the Motion For Change Of Venue (7 page PDF – opens in a new window)



Charles Greene confirms Casey has moved out of Florida

From (Adam Longo):

“Casey Anthony is now living in a different location, according to her attorney, Charles Greene.

During a one-year state supervised probation Anthony was serving for check fraud charges, she was prohibited from leaving Florida. That probation ended on Thursday, Aug. 23. It’s unclear exactly when Anthony moved from an undisclosed location in Florida to outside of the state.

“She has relocated. She no longer has to live with the same security precautions that surrounded her,” Greene said. “The hate mail has subsided a lot. She’s doing better.”

Anthony, her attorney says, has more freedom now that her probation has ended, but she continues to live out of the public eye because of the vitriol leveled towards her and her criminal defense team after her acquittal on murder charges in July of last year.

“Casey is surprised and hurt by the intensity of the hatred directed towards her,” said Greene.

“None of the people who have profited from her case, the TV pundits and others, none of them have been looking for the truth. They’re all dwelling on the scandal.”

Greene also strongly refuted an internet article published this week that Anthony is currently in New York City finalizing a book deal and meeting with a CNN host to discuss on on-air interview.

“Absolutely untrue,” Greene said.

Anthony’s legal troubles are not over yet. She is facing a handful of civil lawsuits including one filed by a Kissimmee, FL, woman named Zenaida Gonzalez who claims Anthony defamed her by claiming she left her daughter Caylee with a nanny by a similar name.

In her criminal trial, Anthony’s attorneys said “Zanny the Nanny” was someone Anthony made up.

That trial is scheduled to begin in January.

CBS 5 has also learned a hearing scheduled for next week in that civil case has been moved to Oct. 4.

Anthony wants to preclude Gonzalez’s attorneys from mentioning any aspect of the criminal trial in the upcoming civil trial.

Anthony’s lawyer says he plans to file between five and 10 new “motions in limine” in the coming weeks in an attempt to limit the amount of evidence that can be introduced in the upcoming trial.

On Friday, Anthony’s defense filed a motion asking the judge to bar any reference to the criminal investigations within which she was involved.

Click here to download the Motion In Limine – (10 page PDF, opens in new window)

Judge Lisa Munyon has already limited the scope of how Gonzalez’s attorneys can proceed with their case.

The trial will hinge on a statement Anthony made to her mother Cindy while incarcerated in the Orange County Jail on July 25, 2008. Anthony stated, “When they went and interviewed that girl down in Kissimmee, they never showed me a picture of her…”

Less than two weeks prior to that, Anthony was shown a series of photos by Orange County deputies investigating her daughter’s disappearance. Upon seeing each photo, which included a picture of the Zenaida Gonzalez who brought the lawsuit, Anthony told investigators none of the people in the photos was her daughter’s nanny. Gonzalez herself was questioned by investigators before Anthony was shown her picture. Gonzalez told deputies she had no knowledge of a missing child and did not know Anthony.

Greene says Anthony looks forward to the day where she can speak publicly about her case, but she doesn’t plan to speak about the case until her legal issues have passed.

Anthony’s criminal team is appealing the four counts of lying to law enforcement she was convicted of last July.

A representative with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach, FL, has said a judicial panel could decide on that appeal before the end of the year.”