By John M. Phillips
As I said in a recent blog, the defamation lawsuit isn’t the road to any form of justice for Caylee Anthony. It is going to allow Casey Anthony, a young and reprehensible native of central Florida acquitted of killing or the fatal neglect of her daughter, to further garner attention and the spotlight. It will likely result in further unfair success for Casey Anthony, as she wins legal battle after legal battle because she is a “protected enemy” of the people and, well, defamation isn’t a very viable claim against her.
The fight between Zenaida “Zanny the Nanny” Gonzales and Casey Anthony resumed on October 8, 2011 in the form of the deposition of Casey Anthony, conducted by one of the most notorious lawyers in the State of Florida, John Morgan. Casey Anthony attended her noticed deposition and won again. Her attorney, Charles Greene, won by Technical Knock-Out, as not only did he repeatedly exert the Fifth Amendment, as expected, but his client was able to appear by video and failed to remove a disguise.
Casey wore a Philadelphia Philllies baseball cap, “gigantic sunglasses” and what appeared to be a long, dark-haired wig during the deposition, according to media-reported quotes of John Morgan. John Morgan and his team of attorneys video conferenced with Anthony and her attorneys at 8 o’clock Saturday morning. Morgan said the deposition lasted about 45 minutes.
Who is being served by taking her deposition in that fashion (and the 100’s of media reports that will obviously follow) Casey Anthony was allowed to have her deposition taken in disguise? It adds to the circus. I, again, question the motive of this entire ordeal.
A witness’ demeanor and credibility is always an issue, and impacts on their testimony and its weight. Does anyone think Ms. Anthony would be allowed to testify in court wearing dark glasses? While there’s no rule, per se, requiring a witness to allow themselves to be observed while testifying, it is such suspicious behavior that a prudent lawyer should stop the deposition and get a court order and sanctions against it. I have stopped 3 depositions in my career because someone refused to testify eye-to-eye. In one, the person was accused of fraud and wore glasses he claimed were prescription due to cataracts. I offered to depose him with the lights off or otherwise accommodate him. I then postponed the deposition for him to bring a note from his doctor. We won the case when he dismissed his claim shortly thereafter. In another, the young man refused because he, too, had something to hide. I talked him into reconsidering and learned a lot from is eyes. In the third, I had to involve the Court and, in fact, we took the follow-up deposition in the courthouse to have ready access to the Judge.
Also, why Morgan couldn’t be in the same room or otherwise why the deposition couldn’t be held in a secure location by all parties is mind-boggling. Why not in open court? Why not at a time the judge could make rulings? Did Morgan & Morgan when facing the decision of deposing someone in a disguise (under the auspices of hiding what she looks like currently) versus deposing someone without any recording of the image (and thus no need to hide her identity) so as to get to look at someone eye-to-eye, I’d choose the latter, but (of course) then you couldn’t add the deposition to your website. If you cannot tell, it seems to me to be one big publicity campaign by Zanny’s counsel. It’s, frankly, no bueno.
I was not there and it is tough for any lawyer to be a Monday morning quarterback of another lawyer, but this circus should end. Casey has now gotten one more “victory” in her own mind because she didn’t have to answer questions and got to do it “her way.” She is a sociopath in my opinion. I’d do NOTHING on HER TERMS.
Airing of deposition
Interestingly, the Morgan & Morgan Facebook page boasted, “Casey Anthony to give deposition in Zenaida Gonzalez case on Saturday, will be streamed from our website.” However, Judge Lisa Munyon previously ruled that Anthony could only be deposed from an undisclosed location by video link, and it is not to be broadcast. The transcript and recording will remain sealed by court order. So, Morgan’s Facebook claim would have resulted in potential civil and criminal contempt charges. I guess they didn’t say “when.”
The Fifth Amendment is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. To “plead the Fifth” is to refuse to answer a question because the response could provide self-incriminating evidence of an illegal act punishable by fines, penalties or forfeiture. Anthony’s attorney insists he is protecting his client’s rights based on the ongoing Appeal of her conviction for lying.
Casey told Orange County deputies the following:
- (1)That she worked at Universal Orlando Resort in 2008,
(2) That she left Caylee with a babysitter named Zenaida Gonzalez,
(3) That she told Jeffrey Hopkins and Juliette Lewis that Caylee was missing,
(4) That she spoke to Caylee on the phone on July 15, 2008.
Casey was charged and convicted of a separate count for each of the above false statements. She was fined the maximum $1,000 for each count, totaling $4,618 after court costs. Judge Belvin Perry also sentenced Casey to a total of four (4) years in jail, which has already been shortened based on the time she has spent behind bars (awaiting trial), and her good behavior in jail.
Because of her Appeal and other potential charges that could, arguably be filed outside of double jeopardy, everyone knew the deposition would lead to little.
What the attorneys say
“Some say [Fernandez-Gonzalez’s case] is frivolous, but what they don’t remember is what her and her family went through three or four years ago,” Morgan said earlier. He also stated, “America is starved for justice, I believe, at the end of the day, they don’t believe she’s been held accountable and they’re looking for justice in whatever way, shape or form they can get it.” We address this in our blog. We do not feel that this is a very viable case, but wish Mr. Morgan luck.
Ms. Anthony’s attorney has repeatedly indicated confidence going into the deposition, and said that “the good deposition” will be when he questions Fernandez-Gonzalez on November 3. He said to “stay tuned” for forthcoming evidence, “including a contentious information card that came up during the trial.” We talked about some of that HERE.
Probably the most defamed person here was the poor Philadelphia Phillies, the team who Casey Anthony sported during the disguised deposition.