Casey’s Defense “Shared Secret” Falls Flat
If the Anthony defense team had hoped to get corroboration from a former boyfriend of Casey Anthony that she was sexually abused by her father, George Anthony, a claim that was made in their opening statement, that did not happen on Thursday.
Outside of earshot of jurors, Tony Lazzaro a one-time boyfriend of Casey was called back to the witness stand for questioning by lead defense attorney, Jose Baez.
Referencing a “shared secret” between Casey and Lazzaro, Baez asked whether it was of abuse by her father, George Anthony. Lazzaro, replied “no”.
Was there any discussion with Casey about being abused by her father, Baez asked Lazzaro.
I recall that she said she had “been disciplined” by her father, Lazzaro responded.
Lazzaro said Casey had told him that her brother, Lee Anthony had tried to touch her.
Judge Belvin Perry asked Lazzaro to be specific.
“He tried to feel her up,” Lazzaro said Casey told him.
“Where?” Perry inquired.
“On her chest,” Lazzaro replied.
“Any place else?”, Perry asked.
“No, sir”, Lazzaro responded.
“Did she mention if that was recent or at some tender age?” Perry inquired.
Lazzaro said that Casey did not attach an age, but that it wasn’t anything present.
Perry inquired whether Lee got through with Casey. Lazzaro replied, “She said it did not happen.”
Perry then probed Lazzaro what he had been told by Casey regarding her father.
Lazzaro responded that all he could recall was the word “hitting” used by Casey, and not the word abuse. He understood Casey to be referring to her being disciplined by her father when she was a child.
“Anything else you can recall,” Perry asked.
“No, sir”, Lazzaro replied.
Prosecutors have charged Casey Anthony with first degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. She has pleaded not guilty and initially said her daughter was kidnapped by a babysitter. Her defense team in their opening statement claimed that the child accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool on June 16, 2008 and that George Anthony disposed of the body and covered it up.
All Casey’s friends and ex’s testified to the court that they saw no change in her demeanor around the time when Caylee went missing, in mid-June 2008. They said that Casey was her usual self–happy, outgoing, upbeat and never mentioned to them that her daughter was missing, or kidnapped or that anything was wrong. The child’s remains were found in a wooded area near the Anthony family home in December 2008.
Before the court recessed on Thursday, the defense moved for a mis-trial, arguing that questions posed by the prosecution regarding Casey’s demeanor around the time when Caylee went missing, are “improper”. They have said that Casey’s apparent absence of remorse is not relevant.
But, the prosecution said the questions surrounding Casey’s demeanor are relevant to show her conduct and to rebut the defense’s claims about what happened to Caylee.
Perry ruled that the prosecution’s questions are relevant to show her conduct after “so called” tragic events and agreed with the prosecution that, they were not being entered for lack of remorse.