Casey Anthony speaks at bankruptcy hearing
Published 12:00 am Monday, March 4, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Appearing in public for the first time since she was acquitted of murder, Casey Anthony revealed that she doesn’t have a job or a car, lives with friends and relies on unsolicited gift cards and cash to get by.
“I guess you could say I’m living free off the kindness” of others, Anthony said at a bankruptcy hearing in Tampa.
Anthony, 26, was acquitted of murder in July 2011 in the death of her daughter, Caylee. She was released from jail several days later and disappeared from the spotlight. At the time, she had been vilified online and elsewhere, and her attorneys said threats had been made against her.
On Monday, dressed in a white short-sleeve top, a black skirt and black heels, she emerged from a sport utility vehicle and several dozen photographers and reporters swarmed her. When she left the courthouse, about 10 U.S. Homeland Security officers stood on the steps with guns.
During the 50-minute long hearing, she consulted with her team of attorneys frequently. When she spoke, it was in a calm, matter-of-fact voice, and she mostly answered “yes sir” or “no sir” to the trustee’s questions.
Anthony said all of the “unsolicited” money, gift cards and donations were sent to her attorneys, who then pass them along to her. She added that her criminal attorney, Jose Baez, has given her about $3,400 in cash “to help with my living expenses.”
She refused to disclose who pays for her cell phone, with one of her attorneys saying that it was due to “safety and security concerns.”
Anthony filed for bankruptcy in January, claiming about $1,000 in assets and $792,000 in liabilities.
Only one creditor showed up at the hearing: R. Scott Shuker, who is a lawyer for Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez.
Fernandez-Gonzalez said her reputation was damaged by Anthony telling detectives that a baby sitter by the same name kidnapped Caylee. The detectives were investigating the 2008 disappearance of Caylee, who found dead several months later.
Anthony’s attorney said details offered by Anthony did not match Fernandez-Gonzalez and clearly showed Anthony wasn’t talking about her.
Shuker grilled Anthony repeatedly on whether she has been approached to tell her story for a movie, book or TV deal. Anthony insisted that she has not spoken to any agent or media organization.
Shuker said afterward that he questioned whether she was telling the truth.
“From the smell test, it didn’t smell right,” he said. “Any time you see an attorney in what’s supposed to be a no asset case being that active, more to the point, you had five attorneys there, allegedly none of them being paid, that’s odd.”
Shuker said that his client suffers damages “to this day” because of her alleged link to the case.
Anthony’s listed debts include $500,000 for attorney fees and costs for Baez, her criminal defense lawyer during the trial; $145,660 for the Orange County Sheriff’s office for investigative fees and costs; $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 had not been seen in public since she left an Orange County jail on July 16, 2011, 12 days after she was acquitted of murdering Caylee but convicted of lying to investigators and sentenced to four years in jail. With credit for the nearly three years she spent in jail since August 2008 and good behavior, she had to serve only several days when she was sentenced July 7.
During Monday’s hearing, she said that in 2008 she transferred her interest in about a dozen photos to her criminal attorney, and that he sold those photos to ABC for $200,000. The money helped pay for her defense, she said.
Anthony added that she “was asked to participate in” photos and licensed those photos to Baez. She didn’t say what those photos were of, or where they eventually ended up — other than that she “posed” for them. She said she thinks Baez eventually sold, or planned to sell, those photos.