Casey Anthony: She didn’t do it

The co-author of the new book about the Anthony case lays out the story that never got told.

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It started with touching, the girl said. She said her father named his penis “Baldy” and told her to play a game called “pet the bald-headed mouse.”

“Pet it until it sneezes milk,” she said he told her when she was 8 years old.

The girl was Casey Anthony. She told court-appointed clinical psychiatrist Dr. William Weitz that her father, George Anthony, raped her “a few times a week” from the time she was 8 until she was 12. Then he did it less often, perhaps because she got her period and he was afraid she might get pregnant. Though her mother was a nurse, Anthony during her childhood never once went to see a pediatrician.

These and other lurid details of Anthony’s alleged incestuous relationships with her father and later her older brother are all contained in court records related to her trial for the murder of her daughter Caylee. Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez, alluded to the allegations in the trial, and even asked George Anthony in court whether he had ever sexually molested his daughter. Anthony testified that he had not, and the judge ruled the incest allegations irrelevant.

In any event, Baez had no need to use Casey’s interview with Dr. Weitz in her defense. The prosecution’s case was so weak that Anthony was famously acquitted of the murder charges after jury deliberations of under 11 hours.

But in the court of public opinion, fed by the cable demagoguery of Nancy Grace and her ilk, Anthony was declared guilty as charged. The prosecution, unable to win in court, pursued its case in the media, and a whole industry of Casey-haters worked to affirm her guilt, no matter what the evidence or lack thereof.

However, in the details that were not introduced during the trial, there lies a plausible explanation not only of Anthony’s innocence, but of the circumstances of her daughter’s death and the part George Anthony may have played in covering it up.

I co-wrote the new book with Jose Baez, Presumed Guilty, in which he lays out this scenario. The haters are already ganging up against the book, most without having read it.

I believe Baez’s story has to be told. I went into our collaboration a skeptic — an agnostic even, who came to the Caylee Anthony case with no preconceived notions of guilt or innocence.

Here’s why I’m now convinced that Casey Anthony didn’t do it.

About the time George Anthony stopped the habitual rape of his daughter Casey, according to her statements in court records, her older brother Lee started entering her room at night while she lay in bed and would fondle her breasts. He did this, she told Dr. Weitz, from the time she was 12 to age 15.

She never told her mother, Cindy Anthony, about what her father was doing. Once, however, Casey tried to tell her about the brother’s sexual abuse. Cindy’s response, according to her daughter, was to call her a whore.

Casey said that after she turned 12, her father continued having sex with her, but far less frequently. When she was 20, she became pregnant, and for seven and a half months she hid her pregnancy. At a wedding of Cindy’s brother, she clearly was showing and everyone wanted to know if she was pregnant. She denied it, but more bizarrely, with great vehemence so did the girl’s parents.

Casey wondered whether George Anthony might be her baby’s father. The police later had a suspicion that Lee might be the father. (DNA tests later showed that neither was the father.)

Apparently George also felt he might be the baby’s father.

When the baby was born, photographs showed him in the delivery room on the receiving end as the baby was coming out. And, with the results of the DNA testing due to come in a couple days, on Jan. 22, 2009, George Anthony tried to commit suicide. He left a text message that said in effect, “I’m sorry. Please tell Casey I love her.”

After Caylee Anthony was born, Casey was mortally afraid that her father would sexually abuse her daughter the same way she claims he had abused her. It was why she always slept in the same bed with her daughter, locked her door at night, why she showered with her daughter, and why she never let her daughter stay in the house alone with her father.

“She feared he would molest the daughter the way he had molested her,” said Dr. Weitz. “She never felt comfortable and wouldn’t leave her — if at all possible — leave her alone with George.”

Said Dr. Weitz, “According to Casey, her father had sexually assaulted her many times over a number of years; that she felt that he was highly impulsive, erratic; that … he could lose control over his behavior easily, and so she feared him and feared for her daughter’s safety.”

At Casey’s request, both George and Lee Anthony stopped living in the family home for a while. When George returned, after the baby turned 1 year old, Casey quit her job. Her father didn’t go to work until 3 in the afternoon, and rather than leave Caylee with him, she made up a story about going to work, took the child with her, and spent every day with her daughter as much to protect her as anything else, returning around 5 in the afternoon after George went to work.

Her parents wanted to know what she did with the child when she went to work. She made up a fake baby-sitter, a nanny she named Zanaida, and for two years she told her parents that she was taking the child to the made-up nanny before going off to work. In actuality during those two years, she spent the day with Caylee in parks, shopping centers, friends' houses.

During this time Casey had no job, no income, and had to steal money from her parents.

Then on June 16, 2008, according to Casey’s statement, she was jolted awake by her father. He was yelling at her, “Where the hell is Caylee? Where the hell is Caylee?”

Caylee usually slept in Casey's bed, but on this morning Casey had slept alone. She and her father started looking around the house. Her 3-year-old daughter was nowhere to be found. They went outside. Casey noticed that the ladder to the aboveground pool was up. One of the family cardinal rules was to make sure to take it down after swimming. Caylee loved to swim, and the fear was she might try to go it alone.

Casey had started to walk toward the house when she saw her father carrying Caylee’s limp, wet body. The little girl was dead. When Casey saw her father carrying the body, her first thought was that it wasn’t an accident.

He did something to her, she thought, and this is how he’s covering it up. (There was no evidence this was the case.)

When she told the story to her attorney, Jose Baez, tears began running down her face.

“My father started yelling at me,” ‘It’s all your fault. Look what you’ve done. You weren’t watching her. You’re going to go to fucking jail for child neglect. You weren’t watching her, she got out of the house, and look what happened.’”

Casey said she cried the whole time her father was yelling at her. In shock she went inside and lay on her bed. She said her father walked into her room and told her, “I’ll take care of her.” And he walked away.

After George Anthony went to work that afternoon, Casey said he called her on her cell phone and told her, “I took care of everything.” She said he warned her not to tell her mother.

For the next 30 days Casey, in a daze, did everything she could to keep the death of her daughter from becoming known to others and a reality to herself. She carried on as though nothing happened. She spent a few days with her boy friend. She went to a nightclub or two. She got a tattoo that said La Bella Vita, a tribute to her dead daughter. Two psychiatrists, Dr. Jeffrey Danziger and Dr. Weitz, each testified in depositions taken by the prosecution that such behavior is called denial and compartmentalization. She suffered, said Dr. Weitz, from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Said Dr. Weitz, “She was basically still in emotional shock and traumatized, and she was basically functioning in denial, suppressed mode. Essentially she was dealing with, one way or another, the loss of a child she loved.”

After 30 days, Cindy Anthony called the police when Casey couldn’t account for Caylee’s whereabouts. To cover her tracks, Casey told police a long series of lies, and when the cops ran out of patience, they arrested her and charged her with murder. Later, without any evidence as to how the child died, the state charged Casey Anthony with capital murder.

The police, meanwhile, were so sure she had murdered her daughter that they focused their investigation on Casey Anthony alone.

From day one when the Orlando cops interviewed Casey and saw she was lying about Zanny the nanny and about working at Universal Studios, law enforcement leaked every piece of negative information about her to the eager, riveted media. This was a case ensuring every sensational media outlet high ratings. Nancy Grace — the Rush Limbaugh of crime, for whom every defendant is guilty no matter what the verdict — led the way. But she had plenty of company in the anti-Casey vendetta: Greta Van Susteren, Nancy lite; Geraldo Rivera, who once was a great investigative reporter but who has become a shill for the right wing; Fox and Friends, the weirdest TV show in the history of television. Hosted by Gretchen Carlson, who makes Michelle Bachmann look like a moderate, she and her two goofy sidekicks stir up the crazies every morning with their mix of laughter and nasty propaganda.

In addition, Casey was attacked by the newspapers dedicated to taking down celebrities: The National Enquirer, The Globe, and The Star, and the TV shows with the same slimy approach: Inside Edition, TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, and The Insider.

And so when Casey Anthony was arrested for not being able to tell the cops where her daughter was, every one of these media outlets jumped on board big time. Every day there was a leak from the cops and the prosecution about what she did or said: Casey’s car smelled of death. Casey used chloroform to kill Caylee. Casey partied while Caylee was missing. Casey used duct tape to kill Caylee. Casey had a tattoo during the 30 days she was away from home, and therefore she had to have killed Caylee.

The hatred of Casey Anthony spewed on day after day. The Casey Anthony Reality Show posited that she should not only be found guilty but should die. When a jury found her not guilty of any of the heinous crimes the prosecution, police, and the press had accused her of, that outcome hadn’t been written into their Reality Show script. As a result, the lynch mob that followed the case so religiously and hated her so avowedly determined that the jury was not only wrong but engaged in an evil conspiracy led by defense attorney Jose Baez.

The blogosphere extended its overwhelming hatred to include Baez — a hard-working, brilliant attorney who risked career, family, and home to set her free. The haters feel so strongly about Casey’s guilt that they don’t believe Jose Baez even has the right to publish his side of the story in Presumed Guilty. There’s a blog calling for a boycott of and another group calling for a class action suit against “anyone having anything to do with the book.”

Last week I was on Cape Cod, and when I told women relatives of my wife about our book, they all had the same response: “I don’t care what’s in the book. As far as I’m concerned, she killed her daughter.”

The only problem with the haters’ conclusion is that the vaunted prosecution, lionized in the press every day, couldn’t prove any of their wild assertions. The smell in the trunk turned out to be garbage, not a dead body. Their chloroform evidence was phony. The duct tape evidence wasn’t at all true. It turned out that George Anthony had used duct tape to seal the garbage bags when he buried the family pets. He was also found to have the same duct tape in his possession after it was found at the crime scene. But such evidence didn’t fit into the script of the Casey Anthony Reality Show and was ignored by the police and hence by the press and the public.

In the end the raving prosecutor Jeff Ashton, a seriously wacky man — you’ll have to read Presumed Guilty to see just how wacky — intent on putting Casey to death despite any real evidence that a crime was committed, ended up looking like the bully he is. His book is called Imperfect Justice. It might as well have been called The Shit I Made Up To Get My Mug on Television and Win an Election. The scenario in the first half of this article would have been an important part of the defense’s case — if Jose Baez had felt the need to have it admitted.

So Casey Anthony is free, but she’s a prisoner in her own home. In the end, you have to ask yourself, Where is the justice? And you have to wonder, What’s going to happen to our country now that we’re living in a reality show world?

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