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THE SITUATION ROOM
Casey Anthony Cleared in Daughter's Death
Aired July 5, 2011 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE JOHNS, CNN GUEST HOST: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, breaking news, a stunning finale to the spectacular trial that gripped the nation. A Florida jury finds Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder and not guilty of manslaughter in the death of her 2-year-old daughter. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Joe Johns and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As to the charge of first-degree murder, verdict as to count one, we the jury find the defendant not guilty so say we all, in Orlando, Orange County Florida, July 5th, signed foreperson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: It was an absolutely breathtaking end to a sensational trial that lasted for more than six weeks, a young woman charged with killing her own 2-year-old daughter, but a Florida jury took less than 11 hours to reach a verdict, finding Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder.
The jury also cleared Anthony of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. They convicted her, though, on four misdemeanor counts of giving false information to law enforcement officers.
The defendant broke into tears as the verdict was read. Casey Anthony could have faced the death penalty. Instead, she will be sentenced on lesser charges Thursday morning, facing up to a year in jail on each count.
This case shocked America and drew worldwide attention. We have full coverage of the stunning conclusion. Standing by live, CNN's Martin Savidge in Orlando, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin.
Thank you all for coming in.
We may have to wait to find out why the jury acted as it did. The 12 jurors have declined to go public, that news relayed to reporters by a court official. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN LEVEY, CHIEF OF DUE PROCESS SERVICES: At this time there are no jurors interested in speaking to any members of the media. They do, however, have your packets and they have asked for their privacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: CNN's Martin Savidge was in the courtroom today. He joins us live from Orlando.
Martin, why are the jurors not talking? And we're not going to even hear from the alternates, are we?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, we're not. This really came as a great surprise. Of course there was the surprise of the verdict and then it was like, all right, all eyes now on the jury. The question, how did you come up with the verdict that you did?
And, in fact, there were so many questions that had to be asked, they weren't sure that we'd get it in, in the 45 minutes we thought we would be allotted. And I was given the opportunity to ask the very first question. So much planning went into this news conference that everyone anticipated was going to happen. Seats had been set up days in advance. Cameras had been place.
Everything was ready, apparently except the jury. They were not informed of course until after they rendered their verdict. We were told there would be some who would speak. And then later you saw Karen Levey come in and she just said, no one, not any of the 12 are going to speak to us. And that was a major blow because there are so many people want to ask so many questions, first and foremost, what is it then?
What swayed the jury? What was it they heard, what was it they didn't hear and how do they think that Casey died? Who do they think is responsibility for Casey's death? On and on, major questions. And apparently right now -- and it is their right. I mean, I should point this out, Joe. It's the right of the jury. They do not have to speak and they do not have to be identified in any way, shape or form.
There were just so many of us who were hoping that they would.
JOHNS: So, we have though heard from the lawyers on both sides. What are they saying tonight?
SAVIDGE: Well, you're right. We have heard from the prosecution. Actually, we heard from Lawson Lamar. And you're also going to hear from Jose Baez. Lawson Lamar is with the prosecution. So let's start with him and then immediately follow up with Jose.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWSON LAMAR, PROSECUTOR: We're disappointed with the verdict today and surprised because we know the facts and we put in absolutely every piece of evidence that existed. Our team did an exemplary job. I'm proud of them and I stand by their work. I never, ever criticize a jury. Theirs is the task of deciding what to believe.
JOSE BAEZ, ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: While we're happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case. Caylee has passed on far, far too soon. And what my driving force has been for the last three years has always been to make sure that there has been justice for Caylee and Casey, because Casey did not murder Caylee. It's that simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: An extremely subdued Jose Baez, very different from the kind of personality that we saw inside of the courtroom through much of the case that the defense had put forward here.
And then, of course, you know, I saw Jeff Ashton as he was getting ready to go into the courtroom before the verdict. You could tell he was electrified. He felt enthused. They thought that with the jury coming back as quickly as they did that that was a good sign for the prosecution, and what a total 180 for them. They were just absolutely shocked because they felt that they had really made a strong case. But, again, the jury saw differently.
JOHNS: Martin, I thinking a lot of people really were shocked and surprised just because they were out about 11 hours and this was a case they'd been in hearing for almost six weeks.
And some people suggested you would take a day for about every week the jury heard the case before you would come to some kind of conclusion. A lot of speculation out there. It just goes to show you that anybody who tries to figure out what a jury is doing is probably not going to do a very good job. Thank you so much, Martin Savidge, for that. And we will be getting back to you.
Just over an hour ago, an attorney put out a statement for Casey Anthony's parents and brother, reading in part: "Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented, and the rules that were given to them by the Honorable Judge Perry to guide them."
Let's bring in our legal experts again, legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin.
And, Sunny, I would just like to start with you. You have been saying over and over, emphasizing that this was a circumstantial case and it just wasn't open and shut for the prosecution. I guess that's how it turned out, huh?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I love that you point that out because a lot of people kept on telling me, you're wrong, you're wrong, but having been there and having tried circumstantial cases, I know how difficult they are.
And in this case, certainly, the way the defense theory sort of played out, I think, in the courtroom and they kept on saying over and over again, reasonable doubt lives here, and I think that perhaps resonated with this jury, Joe, because there was no direct evidence linking Casey Anthony to this crime. No one was going to get up on the witness stand and say, I saw Casey Anthony murder her little girl.
And so I think that was a problem for this jury. In fact, although the jurors haven't spoken to the media, one of the alternate jurors did give a phone interview. And he said that motive wasn't shown, that no one said that Casey Anthony was a bad mother.
And I thought from the very beginning that that was a problem, because if you believe the prosecution's theory in this case, you had to believe that she intended to kill her little girl by rendering her unconscious with chloroform and then placing duct tape over her nose and mouth to suffocate her, so that she could be a party girl.
But witness after witness after witness, Joe, testified that she had an amazing relationship with her daughter. And so the prosecution really went all in. And if you didn't believe that intentional theory, then they were going to be in trouble.
And so this alternate juror said that he felt, although he didn't get to deliberate, that the jury reached the right decision because the evidence didn't support that and because motive wasn't shown.
JOHNS: Jeff Toobin, the other side of that is Jose Baez, the defense attorney, has really been criticized over and over again for the way he did his open, the way he did his close.
As it turns out, the jury came back pretty quickly with a not- guilty verdict, siding with him on the most important charges here. This was really a repudiation, wasn't it, of the prosecution's case?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Complete.
And I think one of the real hard questions to ask today is why the prosecution brought this case as a first-degree murder/death penalty case. I don't think anyone can fault the prosecution for bringing this case. I mean, this was a tragic death of a little girl. Certainly, there was some evidence that pointed to Casey Anthony, her bizarre 30 days of not reporting her death, her, you know, very strange behavior for someone who was supposed to be a grieving mother.
But still the idea that they would bring this case as an intentional murder case, when there is no witness to how Casey died -- Caylee died, there is no proof of when Caylee died, there is no proof of how Caylee died, all of these, which are usually the building blocks of a murder case, especially a death penalty case, it seems like the prosecution got kind of carried away and overcharged this case. And I think that really backfired when the jury started focusing on what evidence was really there.
JOHNS: Now, I have to point out it's my understanding that you both have worked in prosecutor's officers and you both know a lot of this stuff from the inside.
But, Sunny, I have to ask you, this is the kind of case that would really cause some soul searching in a prosecutor's office, would it not, just for bringing it?
HOSTIN: Oh, there's no question. Oh, there's no question. I mean we know that this investigation went on for quite some time. They indicted Casey Anthony on a first-degree murder theory, and so certainly this went all the way up to the state attorney in Florida.
But I think Jeff makes a really good point. When you're bringing a first-degree murder case, and in this case a capital case, if you don't have the answers to the what, the when, the where, even the how, I think it's very difficult to try to prove the who of it, that Casey Anthony did this. And so overcharging is certainly something that a lot of people in hindsight are discussing.
JOHNS: I mentioned the defense attorney, Jose Baez. We have a sound bite from him. He sounded very much like the elder statesman after the whole thing was over. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAEZ: No real hard evidence, no DNA, no fingerprints, nothing. But she's a liar and a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Convict her on that. And she lied and she didn't act the way she needs to. She made some stupid decisions, but let's make her pay with her life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: So there you go. He made the case that she was portrayed as a liar and something we're not going to say on TV today.
But, Jeff, at the end of the day, apparently the jury, without being in the room, got a lot closer to Jose Baez's version of the case than they did to the prosecution's.
TOOBIN: I thought that was really an excellent summation, because it really forced the jury to consider the evidence of murder, not the atmospherics in this case, which were very negative toward Casey Anthony.
She behaved in a bizarre, creepy, lousy, unconscionable way in areas that did not really relate to whether she killed her daughter or not. That's -- and to draw that distinction between being an unlikable person and a murderer is exactly what the defense focused on throughout this trial and it worked. And, you know, more power to them. That's what good lawyering does.
JOHNS: Jeff Toobin, Sunny Hostin, thanks so much for talking to us on this important case. And I'm sure we will be getting back with you real soon.
JOHNS: News of the verdict brought crowds flocking to the courthouse in Orlando.
CNN's David Mattingly is there for us.
David, what's the reaction you're hearing from people? DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joe, the people that were attracted to this trial for the sheer spectacle of it got exactly what they were looking for, another surprise in this never-ending string of surprises in this case, but it's the people who are emotionally invested in it, the thousands, possibly millions of people, who claim that they're looking at this case for justice for little Caylee Anthony, they are the ones truly shocked by this verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: What was your reaction as this...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I can't believe this. To a child, that is disgusting. This is disgusting.
QUESTION: You don't agree with the jury?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no, not at all. I don't think anybody here agrees with the verdict.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe because I am a mother.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know why I am so emotional about it. Maybe because I am a mother. I can't even -- even with the evidence that we did have, I know there was no physical evidence that really put her there, but there was a lot of circumstantial evidence. There was enough there. There was enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And we have seen people from all over the country coming to this trial, hoping to become one of the lucky spectators at the limited seats here every day. It was about this time every day that people were lining up to get a pass to go into the next day's proceedings.
Today, no line, no crowd -- everyone now leaving the courthouse area -- Joe.
JOHNS: So, you know, I seen that a couple other days, watching people talk as they moved around outside the courthouse. The question comes to my mind is, did you get the feeling that most of the people who were showing up there, the people who cared enough to show up, in fact, believed that she was guilty? Were you able to find very many people at all who thought the verdict was justified in the crowd?
MATTINGLY: Any time I saw anyone taking any kind of informal poll, it was always tipped heavily toward guilty. There were people here, again, who thought -- who were attached to this case because they felt an attachment to little Caylee. They were caught up in the spectacle of the mystery behind Casey Anthony's behavior. They wanted answers themselves, and some people are leaving today with the answer that they weren't looking for.
JOHNS: David Mattingly there outside the courthouse for us, thanks much.
Some very hard words from Casey Anthony's defense team, slamming coverage of the trial and what it calls a media assassination -- more coverage of the breaking news ahead.
JOHNS: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Joe.
Casey Anthony's defense lawyers are out slamming the news media over its intense coverage of the case leading up to and during the high-profile trial. Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez, applauded the jury shortly after leaving the courtroom for doing what he said they're supposed to do, finding their verdict based on the evidence, not on emotion.
Baez said -- quote -- "You cannot convict someone until they have their day in court" -- unquote. The defense team believed the public and the media had already decided that Casey Anthony was guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, before the jury ever heard arguments in the case.
Baez and his colleagues pointed to the seemingly nonstop coverage of the case on cable television outlets, commentary by so-called legal experts on various pieces of evidence, and testimony on television and in print, as well as the crowds that gathered outside the courthouse every day possibly as a result.
But despite what these and other defense lawyers perceive as a media bias in high-profile cases, guilty until proven innocent, so to speak, a lot of juries simply don't buy in. Many very famous defendants in very high-profile cases with the most media coverage ever have all gotten off.
Remember O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, William Kennedy Smith? All acquitted in trials that featured intense media coverage. And while the defense slams the media, it might be worth taking a moment to think about why so many of these big cases have the same outcome.
So here's the question. What role do you think the news media played in the outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial? Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile. Post a comment on my blog -- Mr. Johns.
JOHNS: That's a great question, Jack. Thanks. We will be looking for that one.
CAFFERTY: All right, partner.
JOHNS: As Jack notes, this trial that was a sensation and a spectacle, a fact not lost on the defense team. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. CHENEY MASON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I hope that this is a lesson to those of you having indulged in media assassination for three years, bias, and prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be.
I'm disgusted by some of the lawyers that have done this. And I can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don't know a damn thing about it and don't have the experience to back up their words or the law to do it. Now you have learned a lesson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Tough words there.
I spoke about this with Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."
JOHNS: And, Howie, every time we have a big trial like this that's televised everywhere, one side or the other comes out at the end it seems and complains about the media coverage suggests the client or the accused or whoever was convicted in the media.
But in this case, in the Casey Anthony case, do you think that's true?
HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Cheney Mason has a half-a- point.
There certainly have been, Joe, legal loudmouths who have gone on the tube and have convicted her, convicted Casey Anthony, with all kinds of theories. Welcome to television news. That's how these people make a living.
But there's been an avalanche of evidence against Casey Anthony that we have fairly reported on, we, most journalists in the business. The distinction that we have lost is somebody may appear guilty, somebody may seem guilty, but the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt as you know that somebody committed a murder before 12 jurors will agree to, in this case, the death penalty.
JOHNS: But is it hard in your view to convey the gaps, say, between evidence in a way that you want to convict somebody or you want to say there's not quite enough evidence here? People don't pick that up very easily, do they, when they read or went they watch it on television? They don't see the gray lines. They see black and white.
KURTZ: Well, let me say first That it really troubles me the way That television has turned this tragic case of a 2-year-old girl murdered into a national soap opera.
You know, Casey Anthony wasn't famous, yet this is sort of in the O.J. mode. And I just think a lot of us in this business have exploited and merchandised this case. A very attractive woman, I'm sure that has something to do with it.
But you're right in the sense that television is all about the dramatic sound bite, the compression, the quick headline, and the fact is that for every piece of evidence, there's going to be the other side, whether it's prosecution or defense, that is going to come up and deal with contradictions, with gray areas, with nuance.
Jurors weigh that -- television pundits not so much.
JOHNS: And then on top of that, you add Twitter, and Facebook, social media, radio, a variety of other media popping up it seems every day. Is there any remedy? Is there a way to change this or change the direction of it?
KURTZ: Well, everybody in America is entitled to have an opinion about this case and every lawyer who gets to go on television is entitled to have an opinion as well. I would not choke that off.
I would simply question why it is this has become -- let's face -- I'm going to use the phrase -- a national pastime? It becomes entertainment. It becomes something that's ratings-driven. HLN, CNN's sister network, has carried a whole lot of the testimony. MSNBC, FOX News have done a lot of this.
You can't stop people from speculating and mouthing off about this kind of case, but we all should not forget and people at home should not forget that what pundits say on television is not the same as the kind of case that unfolds slowly within the confines of a courtroom.
JOHNS: When you look at O.J., a variety of other super or mega trials you might call them over the years, do you think this falls right in the continuum or is this worse than normal?
KURTZ: O.J. Simpson was one of the most famous athletes on the planet. But we in the television business got spoiled because there was such monster ratings. It became such a racially charged national controversy.
So, what happened? We turned other cases, Laci Peterson, Natalee Holloway, Caylee Anthony, into the same kind of overblown television -- made-for-television drama. In other words, we provided the celebrity for people who didn't have it and we got everybody else hooked. And we say, oh, we're just covering the story. Well, we helped create the story as a television phenomenon.
JOHNS: Howie Kurtz, thanks so much for that.
KURTZ: Thanks, Joe.
(END VIDEOTAPE) JOHNS: All eyes not just only on Casey Anthony, but also on her parents as the verdict was announced. We will look at their reaction and the major role they played in the trial.
Plus, fewer than 11 hours of deliberations. How did the jurors reach their verdict so quickly? We have a jury consultant standing by to give us some insight.
JOHNS: We're getting a first look at the evidence in the Casey Anthony case. We will be bringing you that in a moment.
But first, it wasn't just a legal spectacle, also a real-life family drama playing out in front of the world as Casey Anthony's parents took on a major role in her trial.
Let's look at their reaction as the verdicts were read and some of the testimony they gave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "As to the charge of aggravated child abuse, verdict as to count two, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty, so say we all, dated at Orlando, Orange County, Florida, this fifth day of July, 2011," signed "Foreperson."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY, MOTHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: Well, I started looking at chlorophyll, and I was concerned about my smallish Yorkie. We have two Yorkie puppies.
And the smallest one was having some issues where she was extremely tired all the time. And both the dogs would eat the bamboo leaves out in the back. So I started looking up sources from the backyard that could potentially cause her to be more sleepy than it would affect the larger dog.
And I started looking up color over form I mean chloroform -- I mean, chlorophyll, and then that prompted me to look up chloroform.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Had you held out the hope that Caylee would be found alive?
GEORGE ANTHONY, FATHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: Absolutely, every day from July 15 until the day we were told it was Caylee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: For more on Casey Anthony's parents, let's go back to CNN's Martin Savidge in Orlando.
Martin, what else can you tell us about George and Cindy Anthony's reactions? SAVIDGE: Well, so often in case usually when it's the parents of the accused, they're sitting in the back of the courtroom and they watch everything. But in this particular case, they were very much a part of the case.
George Anthony was practically accused by the defense as being part of this whole plan, that -- that if you buy the defense's story, which we're still waiting to hear if the jury did, but that this child dies accidentally in the family pool, George comes out of that pool holding the dripping body of little Caylee, and says look what you have done, basically, to Casey, and says your mother is going to be so angry.
So, immediately, by that line of thought, the family is all in this. And then we saw them on the witness stand, very emotional, the family very much a part of everything we saw. Today, they're in the courtroom. They were right below me. I'm in a balcony. They sit immediately below me. And that's where they have been through the entire trial.
And the moment that verdict was read, they were up out of their seats, and they were gone. They knew that they would be the focus of attention. They did put out a statement. They were relieved. But, as they say, we all say, no one really knows, maybe we will never know what happened to little Caylee here.
So very interesting to see how this family was involved. And that's why many people say they were fascinated by this story. So many different characters, so many different personalities, Joe.
JOHNS: One of the things that's interested me is not only outside the courtroom but also on Twitter, on social media, what have you, there have been a lot of angry reactions about this, as if there are some people who don't accept the jury's verdict. Why do you think that is?
SAVIDGE: Just as you said that, somebody just shouted out here, "She's guilty." You know, yes, there are people who are so wrapped up emotionally in this trial.
And I think here's the thing you have to keep in mind, that people have been following this. They've been obsessed with this story for so long that we know everything or we think we know everything.
What we forget is that, of course, the jury has not been immersed as much as the public has been. In other words, they only got it through the filtered version as relayed to them by the prosecution or by the defense. They don't get the media replay over and over. They don't get the experts that are feeding in their own ideas and their own opinions as to what must have happened. They got a very controlled explanation from two different sides and they had to buy one of them. And apparently, they didn't buy the prosecution's version.
So that's why I think many people are angry. They're saying how is it possible the jury could have ruled the way they ruled, knowing everything I know. And I'm getting it as well, you know, from all the social media outlets. People are just -- they're stunned. They can't believe it, and they're very angry at this jury.
Many of us would say, look, it was a justice system that is supposed to work the way it did. It may not have turned out the way many people thought, but that is justice in this country right now.
JOHNS: Martin Savidge in Orlando. Thanks so much for that reporting.
I want to pick on that now. So why did the Casey Anthony case resonate so deeply with the public? Joining me right now is Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at Georgetown University.
You know, Martin was just talking about it. A lot of people expressing anger over this verdict when you would think that people would just want to accept guilty or innocent, whatever the jury says, and call it justice. Why are people angry?
LISE VAN SUSTEREN, PSYCHIATRIST/ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, outside the courthouse, it's all about emotion, Joe. Inside the courthouse it's all about the jury being tasked to put emotion aside, to really think. And outside the courthouse, you know, they sort of want what they conceive of as justice, but they are lowering the bar if they're in a crowd. We know how crowds think.
Inside people are analyzing this. They're trying to raise the bar to a higher level of analysis.
JOHNS: The other question, though, is you watch it on TV. You see a family suffering; a child has died, a woman on trial for her life. You wonder why the reaction is not one of sympathy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, you do. And there is a feeling there's not only a rush to judgment, but there was a rush to condemn.
And I'll tell you: in my experience with people, I have experiences where people have come in, and I thought, oh, God, this is so dreadful, so bad, and I start picking away, pulling away those outer layers and understanding a little bit better.
Boy, everything changes once you have the details and you have the underlying emotional underpinnings. You look at things very differently when you have a lot of knowledge.
JOHNS: And then there's just sort of people watching this for entertainment value and depersonalizing, perhaps, the individuals involved?
VAN SUSTEREN: That's a very -- that's a very good point. When you're not close to this, you can afford to just let your emotions run wild.
And there's the reality is that we do have sometimes lives that we're looking for distractions, and this is certainly one of them. It's a very compelling story. And it's been riveting. The stakes are very high. It's not surprising that people were greatly focused on it.
JOHNS: It's also expectations, too, right? You watch "Law & Order," these other television shows, "CSI." They always get their man or woman, and so there's this assumption almost that a person like this is guilty?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, very much so. And there was a lot of suspense as time went on. There was this feeling that there was tension not only understandably between the prosecution and defense but that it had gotten personal. That brings us in. The family dynamics, the darkness that would make Shakespeare kind of wobble.
These --this is a very compelling story, so the fascination, the interest, the wish that justice would be had and it would be dramatic. We got that, but it wasn't what the crowd wanted.
JOHNS: And then you see the dysfunctional family on television and you look at your own dysfunctional family and you say, "Aha!" Same thing here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, yes. Although this one seems to have, it seems, darker secrets than some. We all do have our family, let's say, dynamics. This one obviously much more painful than most of us.
JOHNS: Lise Van Susteren, thanks so much for coming in and sharing that with us.
She's the witness the world wanted to hear from, but Casey Anthony never testified at her murder trial. Did that impact the jury's decision? Our breaking news coverage continues.
JOHNS: We're following the breaking news at this hour. Casey Anthony found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. Casey Anthony was convicted only on misdemeanor charges of lying to police.
Let's talk about the jurors who made these decisions. Philip Anthony, a trial and jury consultant, he's no relationship to the Casey Anthony family. There were 12 jurors, of course, with 12 different stories and different backgrounds.
No. 1 how do they come up with a decision like this in ten or 11 hours? And No. 2, I think for my mind, the prosecution and the defense both had to pretty much agree on who these jurors would be. In hindsight now, it looks like the prosecution chose poorly and the defense chose wisely. Your views?
PHILIP ANTHONY, JURY CONSULTANT: OK, Joe. Well, let's see. First of all, I think we have to thing about this from the perspective of laypeople, jurors. And so I think a first comment would be 11 hours is a lot of time for people to sit together. I think from a lawyer's point of view, they always think there's a certain length of time during which jurors need to deliberate in a case, but the reality is jurors do their very best to make decisions based upon what's presented to them, and once they've reached that decision, they don't feel compelled to stay longer than that amount of time.
And my observation would be in this case, there's likely at least three factors that came into play in their decision. One would be the fact that jurors today really expect the -- as we like to call it -- the "CSI" effect. They expect to see direct proof of the crime that is alleged. And as others on your show have been commenting, this was largely a circumstantial case. And given the nature of the case, that likely just wasn't enough for jurors. They wanted to hear specifically what happened. They wanted some proof that Casey did, in fact, murder her daughter, and they didn't get it.
No. 2, Casey put -- Casey's legal team, I think, put forward a terrific theory when they brought out the fact that she was in some way or more or less molested or threatened by her father when she was a child, and this strategy was perfect in this case because there was one factor that could have swayed the jury here or maybe not sway them but gotten them to focus on the suspicious behavior here. And, of course, I'm referring to her misstatements to various authorities.
ANTHONY: Where she, at various points along the way she said there was a nanny, and then there wasn't a nanny. And then there was a rich boyfriend and so on and so forth. Well, without the molestation theme on the part of the defense, she really, you know, those things would have been very questionable for jurors. They would have seen that potentially as signs of guilt.
ANTHONY: But with the molestation -- with the molestation defense, jurors, I'm imagining, at least some of the jurors were able to say, "Hey, I can understand how that might have weighed on her, and maybe she didn't do the right thing, but it's at least some indication as to why...
ANTHONY: "... she didn't go forward to the police sooner."
JOHNS: Great. Philip Anthony in Los Angeles, thank you so much for that. We really appreciate your views and the jury. And we have some more stuff going on this summer, so we'll come back and ask you about some other juries.
We're getting a closer look at some of the evidence presented in the Casey Anthony trial. That's coming up next.
JOHNS: Just in, we're getting a closer look at some of the evidence that was shown to the jury in the Casey Anthony trial, and we're back with legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin of our sister network, TruTV.
And Sunny, we have some pictures, and I know you've seen all of the evidence. So we thought we'd just put some of these up, and you could give us an idea of what it is we're looking at. Now this...
SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL ANALYST, TRUTV: Sure.
JOHNS: Start off with that one because I can't see it from where I am very well.
HOSTIN: Sure. This is a picture of Casey Anthony and her mother, Cindy Anthony. Now, Casey was 7, almost 8 months' pregnant in this picture, and the import of this picture is the defense wanted to show that this family was so dysfunctional that it was sort of a web of lies all the time.
And when people at this wedding, they were asking Cindy Anthony, "Wow, when is Casey due," she denied that Casey was even pregnant. She said, "Oh, no, no, no, no. She's not pregnant. She's just gained a bit of weight because she's not exercising, she's a bit sedentary. So this is a picture put in by the defense. The defense put in about 75 exhibits, Joe -- and this was one of them -- to show that this was really a dysfunctional family, one that lied a lot...
HOSTIN: ... that had a sort of code of silence when things were inappropriate.
JOHNS: OK. OK, Sunny. So let's just turn to the next picture that we've gotten in here, and let's talk about that one. There we go.
HOSTIN: Sure. This is a picture of little Caylee Anthony at the family pool in the backyard of the Anthony home. And this was also a picture introduced into evidence by the defense, because the defense theory, remember, is that little Caylee died an accidental death, drowning in the Anthony pool, and that this was just an accident that spiraled out of control.
And that George Anthony, when he found Caylee Anthony dead in the pool, allegedly, was complicit in the cover-up and yelled and screamed at Casey Anthony. This was the only piece of evidence, though, about George's, I guess, involvement, because the defense talked about it in opening statement, but only these pictures came in. No testimony about accidental drowning.
JOHNS: And the next picture we have, I believe, is a picture of Caylee's bedroom. This one, I think, we've actually talked about a couple of times. I'm sorry. Casey's bedroom. There we go.
HOSTIN: That's right. Because we know that Casey did live at home with her parents. She moved out in June, but she did live at home. And what you see on the right side is, I think, a montage of pictures of Caylee Anthony. And so very interesting because the jury got to see this. And one of the theories that the defense put forth was Casey loved her daughter. Caylee loved -- Casey loved her little girl. This was not an abusive mother. And I think that was the import of this picture.
JOHNS: Right. And now let's just flip on over to this last picture, which I'm told was a crime scene photograph. Let's take a peek at that. What are we looking at?
HOSTIN: Right. I mean, this is a picture, the woods behind Suburban Drive. Little Caylee's remains, they were skeletonized. They were found in December of 2008. This was interestingly enough, I mean, really important for this -- for this defense, because the remains were found in a swampy-type area because it was hurricane season, and a lot of the remains were found under water, under debris. And the defense's theory was that these remains were moved by the meter reader, Roy Kronk, the person that did report finding the remains. While the prosecution said, "No, no, no. These remains had been there for quite some time, at least six months."
JOHNS: OK, Sunny Hostin, if you will, just hold on. We're going to take a break and come back and see you on the other side.
JOHNS: Back with CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, and talking about pictures of evidence in the Casey Anthony case that has come into CNN, and we're able it to share with you, our viewers. Sunny, one of the things we're hear now is we have some pictures of one of the most controversial parts of the entire case, which was duct tape that had been found, apparently, on the body of Caylee Anthony. Can we look at that picture and talk a little bit about it?
HOSTIN: Sure. I mean, this was so controversial, because this is what the prosecution contended was the instrument of death: duct tape. They contended that Casey Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious, and then placed this piece of duct tape over her nose and mouth to suffocate her. And the theory and the motive was so that she could live the beautiful life, and she got that sort of tattoo on her back sometime in July.
The reason it became so controversial is because they also had a photo that was placed in evidence. It was a video, actually, of little Caylee's face, and her skull and then the duct tape sort of over that, over her face to show that she could have suffocated just with one piece of duct tape. Of course, the prosecution said there were three pieces of duct tape found on the skull.
And also, what I think was very interesting and important for the prosecution is that they said that the duct tape was still on her face and sort of attached to a mat of hair. And all of the body parts, all of her remains were sort of scattered all around. A lot of animal activity, unfortunately. And they said, however, even with the animal activity the duct tape held the mandible to the face.
This -- this is a picture of the laundry bag that little Caylee's remains were found in. In rebuttal argument, the prosecutor very graphically said that this became Caylee Anthony's coffin. Now we know now with the evidence that similar bags were found in the Anthony garage, and so, of course, the prosecution's argument was that Casey Anthony, because she lived in the Anthony home, had access to these bags.
JOHNS: So one of the things that people may not understand is this body was found, obviously, there in the swamp, but at the same time there was so much talk about the smell of decomposition in the car. Could you give us just a sense of how it was that the prosecutors got the body, in their theory, from the car to the swamp?
HOSTIN: Well, that was certainly -- they didn't explain how the body got from the car to the swamp, and in the swamp, of course, they found the remains in a laundry bag and then two trash bags. And that's the trash bag that you're looking at.
What evidence did come in to connect Casey Anthony to the car -- and it was only her car and she had access to it -- was a lot of the smell of death. We heard that over and over again in this trial. Not only from forensic anthropologists and from FBI minders, also from just lay people. George Anthony said he smelled death in the car...
JOHNS: Sonny Hostin...
HOSTIN: ... emanating from the trunk.
JOHNS: Sonny Hostin, thanks so much for that. We really appreciate you keeping us up on this trial.
We're going to take a break and we'll be right back.
JOHNS: Time now to check back with Jack Cafferty -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Question this hour, what role did the news media play in the outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial?
Lynn writes, "The fact that the media convicted Casey Anthony before the trial even began is disgusting. Listening to people and believing that their opinions are based on what they have heard on TV is outrageous. There were 12 jurors. That's how the system works. It doesn't matter what the talking heads think or say. I don't want the media to make up my mind for me. I want them to report the facts. I can make up my own mind."
Rudy in Austin, Texas: "Hey, Jack, looks like the media didn't matter in the outcome. While your colleagues -- Jane Velez-Mitchell, Nancy Grace, et al -- were leading Casey to the gallows, the jury found her not guilty of murder one. Fair and balanced much?"
Karen writes, "Wasn't the jury sequestered? And if so, the media shouldn't have influenced the outcome. The media only influenced us, the public." J.K. in Minnesota: "I think the media, primarily coming from your sister network, obsessed on this case so much that the prosecutor's office felt compelled to seek a capital murder conviction when a lesser charge would probably have been the better choice. I know if I personally were seated on a capital murder jury, the evidence better be indisputable or I couldn't, in good conscience, vote to convict the defendant."
Susan in Idaho writes, "The news media was not a factor. Remember the jury couldn't watch or listen to the news. The blow for the prosecution was Jeff Ashton himself, sitting there laughing while Jose Baez was giving her closing arguments was the kiss of death for his case. Had Casey done that, she'd have been convicted."
Larry in Colorado writes, "If the media would just treat this economy of ours with the same zeal as it did this case and the case of the IMF president, then perhaps our politicians would rise to the urgency of our state of the union. Instead our headlines are full of two criminal cases and little else. Two plus wars, unemployment, deficits through the roof, and your question of the hour is the media in a murder verdict? When does the insanity end? Are ratings and selling papers that important?"
If you want to read more on this go to my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile.
Joe, good to be with you today, partner.
JOHNS: Thanks, Jack.
I'm Joe Johns in THE SITUATION ROOM. For our international viewers, "WORLD REPORT" is next. In North America, "JOHN KING USA" starts right now.