Casey Anthony Will Face Defamation Claims Out of Public Eye
Casey Anthony, who remains infamous after her acquittal in 2011 in the murder of her child, won a small victory in a Tampa bankruptcy court on Tuesday.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May ruled that two plaintiffs in defamation cases against Anthony must file complaints through his court, not through the Orange County Circuit Court. Anthony’s lawyers sought this ruling in part to avoid publicity, as TV cameras are allowed in the state court.
They also wanted May to decide whether Anthony’s bankruptcy would clear the claims before they proceed. In bankruptcy, the debtor may be relieved of certain debts; this could include any compensation Anthony may have to pay in the defamation cases.
May described Anthony as “destitute” after years of unemployment and legal fees, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He said the lawsuits would likely be fruitless, as Anthony has few assets.
Anthony’s lawyers scathingly dismissed the two defamation cases against her as publicity stunts in a court memorandum on June 10. The cases are “motivated by a perverse quest for publicity that surrounds those involved in the Casey Anthony Saga,” states the memorandum.
Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez claims damage to her reputation as a result of Anthony’s statements that a nanny of the same name kidnapped her daughter, Caylee Anthony, according to Business Insider.
Last year, Judge Lisa Munyon refused to provide a summary judgment in the case, saying it must be heard before a jury. Munyon dismissed Fernandez-Gonzalez’s claims concerning statements Anthony made to police, but ruled that a jury should decide concerning statements Anthony made to her mother in a recorded conversation during a jail visitation in 2008.
Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found 2-year-old Caylee’s body, claims Anthony’s attorney Jose Baez wrongly implicated him in her death.
Anthony’s attorneys’ memorandum states: “Ms. Anthony has no assets. The fact that Kronk and Gonzalez continue to pursue their claims prove they have motives that have nothing to do with collecting those claims and nothing to do with justice.”
The attorneys say the defamation cases, were they to proceed in state court with high publicity, would cause Anthony undue suffering.
“She will either defend the cases or be forced to default because she has no money. She will be lampooned in the press. The death threats will again increase. She will be forced to find new accommodations, or just simply disappear and say it is not worth the fight any more.”