Return to Transcripts main page


George Anthony Breaks Down on Stand

Aired June 29, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, the defense goes on the attack, grilling George Anthony on the stand. He tries to control his emotions as he`s berated, humiliated, but eventually this fragile father completely cracks.

JESS ASHTON, PROSECUTOR: Had you held out the hope that Caylee would be found alive?

GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY`S FATHER: Absolutely. Every day from July 15 until the day we were told it was Caylee. I need to get through this. I need to have something inside of me to get through this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did his heart-breaking testimony hurt or help the defense? Did they go too far in questioning this grieving grandfather?

G. ANTHONY: I can close my eyes at the moment, sir, and I can smell that again. How dare you try to tell me that I did something differently than what I did?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Plus, the defense finally asks about allegations of incest.

JOSE BAEZ, CASEY`S ATTORNEY: You, of course, would never admit to molesting your child, would you?

G. ANTHONY: I would never do anything to harm my daughter in that way.

BAEZ: Only in that way?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m bringing you all the dramatic testimony from today`s Casey Anthony trial. I`m live in Orlando. I`m taking your calls.

ISSUES starts now.



G. ANTHONY: Every day from July 15 until the day we were told it was Caylee.

ASHTON: You would do anything to protect her?


ASHTON: She`s your baby.

G. ANTHONY: It`s very hard to accept when it`s your granddaughter.

I was hysterical. I was upset. I wanted answers. I demanded those answers to come to try to find my granddaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say about the new theory that Caylee might be dead and it might have been an accident?

G. ANTHONY: Shut up!

I would never do anything to harm my daughter in that way.

I needed at that time to go and be with Caylee. Because I believe I failed her.

ASHTON: Have you ever sexually molested your daughter, Casey Anthony?

G. ANTHONY: No, sir.

CASEY ANTHONY, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: I just know how much I love you and how much I miss you and I can`t wait to see you, Dad. You are the best father.

G. ANTHONY: No, sir, I need to get through this. I need to have something inside of me to get through this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live to you from Orlando, Florida. I`m right outside the Casey Anthony courthouse. What an extraordinary day.

The defendant`s dad and her lawyer go to war with each other, as George Anthony is forced to testify yet again. But this time, it would seem that three years` worth of sorrow and frustration and rage and grief erupt. The harsh questions of defense attorney Jose Baez backfire. George sobs on the stand. It is an incredible display of emotion that turns him from somebody the defense claims is a villain into a very, very, very sympathetic figure. Listen.


ASHTON: Up to that moment, had you held out the hope that Caylee would be found alive?

G. ANTHONY: Absolutely. Every day from July 15 until the day we were told it was Caylee.

ASHTON: In January of 2009, you went...

BELVIN PERRY, JUDGE: Do you need a break?

G. ANTHONY: No, sir. I need to get through this. I need to have something inside of me to get through this.

PERRY: Do you need a break, Mr. Anthony?

G. ANTHONY: No, sir, I`m fine.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I was inside the courtroom watching this, and it was absolutely gut-wrenching. This could not have been a good day for the defense. Was it their Waterloo?

And the most astounding thing, was it Casey herself? Well, look for yourself. She sat there dry-eyed, cold as ice, unresponsive throughout her father`s entire tearful testimony. Not a tear. When we broke for lunch, she was spotted smiling. All this on day 31 of the trial. Thirty-one. Sound familiar? It`s a chilling parallel to the 31 days before Casey Anthony told anybody her daughter was missing. And that only under duress.

What affect did all of this have on the jury? Well, again, I was right there inside court. I saw virtually no note taking, as George testified. During lunch, I rode the elevator with a woman who was a member of the public. She got a ticket, waited on line. She said she wept right along with George and was extremely upset that Casey showed no emotion and that it made her think she`s guilty. That was unsolicited from a member of the public who might be like a shadow juror.

The defense wanted to make George look like a molester and a cover-up artist. Take a look at this guy. Does he look like a man who knowingly covered up his granddaughter`s death? Or perhaps does it sound like George has finally gotten fed up with being in denial about what Casey Anthony might be capable of. Listen to this.


G. ANTHONY: Sir, definitely something happened to Caylee. She`s no longer with us. And Casey was the last one that I saw with Caylee. One and one adds up to two, sir, in my mind.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Was George Anthony`s testimony a real game changer at this 11th hour? Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1- 877-586-7297.

George was called as a witness for the defense. But was this a home run for the prosecution? Or could everybody here, all the experts and myself be misreading it?

Florida defense attorney Joe Episcopo, was George`s testimony a disaster for the defense or not?

JOE EPISCOPO, FLORIDA DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yesterday they had him on the ropes. River Cruz was going to be his demise. It looked like he might have had an affair with her, and it would have hurt his credibility. But he came back today, and everybody in that jury is sympathetic with him.

He went out and got a gun to try to find out the people who took Casey -- Caylee. I mean, do you really think he was involved in throwing that body into that field? No way. You know what? Today, the defense lost this case. It`s all over.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people say this is the worst day for the defense since this trial started.

Beth Karas, you also in court today. First of all, why? Joe Episcopo raises this question. Why bring George back? They did have him on the ropes yesterday. And I`ve had lawyers say to me, "This is a bizarre case. You don`t get to call somebody back over and over and over again every time you think of a new question for them."

BETH KAR A S: Right. And the judge is really letting the attorneys try the case. Because he probably could have said, "No, come on. Let`s stop it." So he lets them try the case.

However, the state did this. I understand why they did it, because they had that time line. And they -- it would have been way too confusing if every witness visited just once. But the defense doesn`t need to do it. The jury understands the time line. They could put everyone on once and get it all out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It was -- it was so bizarre to me. At times I was like, is this the defense case? Or is Jose Baez working for the prosecution? And I like Jose. And when Jose does a good job, I`m the first one to say, "Hey, don`t underestimate him." But this was unbelievable, the points George that scored for the prosecution today.

OK. The defense asked George about the incriminating, well, smell in his daughter`s car. And George is adamant about what he smelled: a decomposing human body. Check this out.


BAEZ: On July 24 you went and made the statement to law enforcement that you had smelled that car and you smelled human decomposition.

G. ANTHONY: Yes, sir.

BAEZ: And you were sure of it.

G. ANTHONY: I`m 100 percent positive. The decomposition that I smelled in the trunk of my daughter`s car on July 15, 2008, at Johnson`s Towing smelled like human decomposition to me, sir.

BAEZ: Would you like...

G. ANTHONY: That`s what it smelled like to me. And my knowledge of law enforcement and what I saw for ten years of law enforcement gives me that opportunity to know what that is. I can close my eyes at the moment, sir, and I can smell that again.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks, after days of mind-numbing, complex forensic debate over the smell in the car, didn`t this just bring it home very simply? He can smell death in the car.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Very, very powerful. And I`m sure the jury took it all in. We learned more about George today and his law enforcement. He said ten years in law enforcement. He said he smelled decomposition in the woods, in a car, in a house. And you saw him say he could close his eyes right there and still smell it.

And I`m telling you, Jane, once you have smelled a decomposing or a burning body, it`s something you never forget. Take it from me. I`m telling you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle Golland, I`ve been watching George for a long time. And to me, there`s a great book called "Co-Dependent No More," where people stop thinking that somebody else`s problems are their problems. To me, this was a breakdown but also a breakthrough for George Anthony. It seems to me he finally had it and decided on some psychic level, "It`s either her or me, and I`m going to root for me, and I`m going to snap out of denial and co-dependency." Your analysis?

MICHELLE GOLLAND, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You know what? I actually have to say I sit with clients all the time at different levels of dysfunction and disorder, and my gut about George Anthony, I don`t trust him. I have to be honest with you.

I`m going to go back to the fact that he did smell decomposition in that car, and he did not call 911. Everyone is saying what -- what father wouldn`t call 911 if they were a police detective, if their daughter [SIC] had drowned? You know who would? The same detective that would drive a car that his child and granddaughter had been missing for 20-something days, and he chooses to drive that car. That doesn`t make any sense to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re making a good point. It didn`t...

GOLLAND: I don`t trust him. I...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think the defense connected the dots on that, but I think you are making a good point. But I think he was in denial at that time. And he didn`t want to contemplate -- if he had connected the dots, he would have said maybe Casey did it right then when he first smelled that smell of death. And I think this was a man in denial until very recently. Until very recently.

OK, we`re just getting started on this debate. We`re going to give you more chance to tell your side, Michelle Golland, in just a second.

We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Is the defense ripping this Anthony family into shreds?

Plus, Jose Baez and an extremely emotional George Anthony at war in the courtroom.


G. ANTHONY: I need to get through this. I need to have something inside of me to get through this.




G. ANTHONY: I called my -- my family, my mother, my sister, my father. Basically to tell them goodbye, even though I didn`t say that. I just told them not to worry. I was just going to -- I needed at that time to go and be with Caylee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you expressed that in the note?

G. ANTHONY: Yes, I did. Because I believe I failed her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A choked-up George Anthony opening up about his suicide attempt and why he wanted to kill himself. But the defense doesn`t want his suicide letter to be admitted into evidence. They fought it like heck.

And I`ve got to say, Joe Episcopo, that really bugged me. Because the defense made an inference and an innuendo in front of the jury, implying the suicide note shows that George is very guilty about doing something awful, which would hint toward molestation or a cover-up, but then they don`t want the jury to see the actual suicide note that the prosecution says nothing of the kind. It admits no wrongdoing on George`s part. Your thoughts?

EPISCOPO: They`ve wised up to this defense attorney. They don`t trust him. Obviously, nobody trusts him.

And you know what else is coming through in this family, the way it`s all messed up? She is the kind of person that could accidentally overdose her child, carry the body around for a few days, and then heave it into a field. Just look at her. Just look at the way she behaves. She`s callous and cruel. I`m telling you, she`s doomed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I`ve got to say, Beth Karas, I found this defense grilling of George so bizarre. Because as the judge has said, at one point it`s like the ever-changing theory. AT one point, they seemed to imply that George faked a suicide, and then the next minute, they seem to be implying that George actually did try to commit suicide because he was guilty about molesting Casey Anthony. Which is it?

KARAS: Right. They did call -- or Jose called it an alleged suicide attempt, and George was very quick to correct him and say it was not alleged. "I did try to kill myself. And it was very serious." He took a lot of pills, and he drank a lot of beer. And he left an eight-page letter, which the judge probably will let into evidence as early as tomorrow during the state`s rebuttal case.

I think one of the tactics for the defense might have been to try to get under his skin and to make him get upset, because we know George has a temper. We`ve seen it in the way he`s acted toward the people who were demonstrating outside his house and one could say were complaining (ph) to him. He got upset with the police the day after Caylee`s remains were absolutely identified.

The next day, December 20, when police came to execute another search warrant, he said, "Get out". They had to remove him because he was belligerent, but who would blame him, one could argue?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re going to talk a little bit. You see the split screen here: George sobbing hysterically, Casey, his daughter, no expression.

OK. She later cries when a grief expert gets on and talks generically about grief. But yet her dad, her flesh and blood, is sobbing and having a breakdown, and she is dry, cold. Now, why is that?

Well, maybe one reason is the defense kept asking George about Casey`s innocence or guilt. And at one point, George had an absolutely stunning reply. Listen closely to what he said, because it is crucial.


BAEZ: Did you make any media appearances where you were advocating the innocence of your daughter?

G. ANTHONY: Possibly I did. Without seeing the context or things like that, sir, I don`t want to believe -- I didn`t want to believe back then that my daughter could be capable of taking the life of her daughter.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So George said it. He said it right there, and that answers your question, Michelle Golland. He said he didn`t want to believe that his daughter was capable of such acts.

GOLLAND: You know, Jane. Let me tell you what I`m seeing. I understand -- you are a lawyer, so I want to give you my clinical interpretation of what I have seen, not about change.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not a lawyer.

GOLLAND: Not about -- OK. Well, you could be, Jane. So anyway, let me...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t want to be.

GOLLAND: ... tell you what I see. I`m married to one. You`re probably right.

OK. I believe that Casey was molested. When this case broke in the summer of `09 after the suicide attempt of George Anthony, I said there is something very wrong in that family. The way they responded. It is very true the way the grief counselor said it. It is a conspiracy of silence. There is shame; there is sabotage.

I wanted you to go back and think about Lee Anthony`s testimony. This is a family that is not communicating, was in denial about the pregnancy, was shutting people out. And I think, I personally believe that George did help her hide the body. And I believe that she was...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, OK, all right. OK, you have stated that you think that she was molested. But -- but here`s my problem with that. We`re going to get other people to weigh in. My problem with that is when she revealed that she thought that she was being molested. Did she ever tell a schoolmate? Did she ever tell a counselor? Did she ever tell anyone?

We hear about this on the 11th hour when she`s facing murder one and the possibility of death. The timing is suspicious, and she is a pathological liar, so why should we believe her about one thing when we`ve seen that she`s lied about just about everything else? That`s my problem with the molestation allegation.

Stay right there. And we`re just getting started. More of George Anthony`s astounding testimony.



G. ANTHONY: My emotional state, even through today, it is -- it is very hard to accept I don`t have a granddaughter anymore.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Heart-breaking testimony from George Anthony today. I was in court today watching it. It was gut-wrenching.

Casey`s dad was technically a defense witness, but a lot of people decided this was an emotional bulls-eye for the prosecution.

Going out to Kim in North Carolina. Your question or thought, Kim?

CALLER: Do you see any perjury charges against Cindy if they can prove she lied on the stand about the chloroform searches?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s an excellent question. I`ll throw it out to Joe Episcopo. A lot of people are very skeptical about her claims on, "Oh, I did all those sinister Internet searches" that would prove, if Casey did them, premeditation."

EPISCOPO: It`s a mother in a death penalty case. I mean, come on. They`re not going to charge her with perjury. Obviously, everybody assumes she`s lying, and that`s just the way it`s going to be. But it`s not likely that she`ll be charged with murder [SIC]. And by the -- perjury.

By the way, let`s get back to this molestation. Let`s assume that she was molested. Is the doctor saying that that excuses the homicide? That would be a reason to kill your child? I don`t think so. I just don`t see how that connects to this case.


GOLLAND: I want to say to you, not everybody does go on the stand and lie about family members. People with good moral character who are not in a family that they are constantly trying to lie and manipulate the situation or the system get up -- let`s look at Ted Kaczynski`s brother. What did he do? He turned him in. People with good moral character who do good things don`t act like George and Cindy Anthony have.

And dysfunction does not start with a child moving upward. Dysfunction and disorder in families starts with the parents, Jane, and goes down. So the product of Casey Anthony, who I believe did...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this. Let me say this, Michelle. You`ve spoken, but I think one of the reasons that America is fascinated with this case is because a lot of people have teenagers that they cannot control. A lot of them. And this is the worst-case scenario. But I think it`s striking a chord because we live in a culture -- and I know, Mike Brooks, we`ve discussed this before -- where a lot of teenagers are out of control. They`ve got social networking; they`ve got cars. Their parents cannot -- cannot get a handle on them.

And so I think if a child exhibits really bad behavior, you can`t necessarily immediately blame the parents.

BROOKS: No, you can`t. But Jane, remember the one -- our one viewer that just a couple weeks ago called in and told Jane (ph) that she took...


BROOKS: ... her granddaughter away from her daughter, because she`d been watching this case and saw a lot of -- a lot of Casey in her own daughter. So you`re right. It is prevalent out there.

And that was a public service we did for that woman, apparently. Because I hope everything worked out for that family. But you`re right, it just -- it`s so prevalent across our nation. They`re kids. How do you control these kids?

And you have George. Remember those -- remember those surveillance videotapes that we saw in jail. He says, "I wish I could have been a better father, a better grandfather." Because, yes, he was a cop for ten years. Most likely he was a disciplinarian.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think -- I think we could also talk about the culture encouraging this kind of behavior. The parents can`t contradict what`s coming in with the culture, which is just do whatever you want, as long as it makes you feel good.

We`ll be right back.



G. ANTHONY: It`s very hard to accept that I don`t have a granddaughter anymore.

LEE ANTHONY, BROTHER OF CASEY: I was just angry at everyone in general that they didn`t want to include me.

G. ANTHONY: Shut up. I`m talking. I am talking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you need a break?

G. ANTHONY: No, sir, I need to get through this. I need to have something inside me to get through this.

L. ANTHONY: I am incomplete. I`m broken.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do about it?



BAEZ: -- would you like to take a break? Do you need a break?


G. ANTHONY: You`re trying to take this joy of my life away from me, sir. And you can`t do it anymore.

This is destroying your mother. She hurts so much.

CASEY ANTHONY, ACCUSED OF MURDERING DAUGHTER: My mom flat-out told me yesterday she will never be able to forgive me.

CINDY ANTHONY: The family is broken. We want to have that fixed.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Anthony`s family is literally hanging on by a thread. Her father George on the stand again today and he couldn`t keep it together. He came apart. He broke down, but I think he might have also broken through. Listen to this.


G. ANTHONY: No, sir, I need get through this. I need to have something inside of me to get through this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This sobbing went on and on in court this morning. Look at Casey. Is she shedding a tear? Does she show any compassion or empathy with her own father? No. Ok.

She actually cried when they had a grief expert that she`s never met on who talked generically about the stages of grief. But her own dad sobbing on the stand, she shows no emotion.

I`m here with Mark Nejame, who used to be George and Cindy`s attorney. I know you can`t talk about that. But I can get your analysis. This was a crucial day. What did it do to the defense case?

MARK NEJAME, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR CINDY AND GEORGE ANTHONY: I think it destroyed it. I think it was already on life support and I think today the plug was pulled.

I think the defense has no choice but to go ahead and get her on the stand tomorrow if they`ve got any small chance of attempting to salvage the, in my opinion, outrageous statements that they made in opening statement.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think if she is convicted, that this examination today of George Anthony that backfired on the defense apparently, according to most experts, could be the basis for an appeal arguing ineffective assistance of counsel?

NEJAME: That`s a tough one to develop. A lot of people are very critical of the defense the way that they`ve handled this case. But, you know, you have a lot of latitude with strategy. And if in fact, this is the story which we have to believe that she has told her lawyers, then they are duty bound to go ahead and move forward on that case. That`s the story that she told them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But you don`t have to call George Anthony over and over and over and over and over again. They -- as Joe Episcopo said they had him on the ropes yesterday. He wasn`t that believable, according to a lot of people when he said he didn`t have an affair with this River Cruz who is going to take the stand tomorrow, presumably. She`s been waiting in the wings.

Why bring him back again? I don`t understand that. And I`ve got to throw that out to Joe Episcopo.

JOE EPISCOPO, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Because they don`t know what else to do. And you know what else got shot down today, Lee because they claimed that he molested her but they put Cindy on the stand and said did you ever catch your son hulking over your daughter in the bedroom. And she said no, it never happened.

So they actually took care of that problem too. Nothing went well for the defense today. They are in bad shape.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: George`s emotions on the stand -- we all saw it. It went from anguish to rage during the direct examination by Jose Baez. Here`s George trying to stay calm as Jose Baez criticizes the TV appearances George did at the time they were looking for Caylee.


BAEZ: Do you recall being on "48 Hours"?

G. ANTHONY: Yes, sir. .

BAEZ: Do you recall being paid $24,000 for that appearance?

G. ANTHONY: You know, Mr. Baez, I have been nice to you. You`re trying to take this joy of my life away from me, sir. And you can`t do it anymore.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Once again, I feel that George was actually standing up for himself as a man maybe for the first time in his life.

Now, I know Michelle Golland, you`re a psychologist and you think that he`s a liar and a molester. I don`t think there`s any proof of that. What I did see -- and address this specifically -- is a man who may have been a bit of a doormat, who may have been a little henpecked, who may have let his kid, child, daughter, run all over him, and finally said today, enough is enough. That`s what I felt.

MICHELLE GOLLAND, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I mean I think he has been henpecked. I think Cindy Anthony is a very overbearing and critical, hostile mother, which is what we have heard from Lee Anthony about how she speaks to her daughter. And I`m sure other -- we see both of them are irrational and volatile in how they`ve handled this situation, I think with the least amount of grace and dignity. And have been really, I think --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I disagree with you 100 percent. And I`ve got to bring Mike Brooks in here.

I mean listen, who knows how we would behave if we were in this situation. This is hell on earth. And I think to say that they have handled this with no dignity is just really unfair.

I`m sorry, Michelle, I respect you, but I think it`s unfair. I want to bring Mike in.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Jane, you know that I was one who criticized the Anthonys over the last three years saying that they were drinking the Casey Kool-Aid and everything else.

But look, they were probably just supporting their daughter and we saw Cindy on the stand the other day because she`s lost her precious little Caylee and there`s a good possibility that she could lose her daughter Casey.

And now we see George. I think you`re absolutely right. George stood up for himself today. He got tired of Jose Baez -- because Jose Baez has called him -- has called him everything but the Son of God. He`s called him a molester, a philanderer, you name it. He`s said he`s had sex with his daughter -- called him everything, Jane.

I think he`s had enough, but I think he controlled himself better than I could have if I was in his position there on the stand in front of Baez.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to go to Anne, New York. Your question or thought, Anne? Anne?

ANNE, NEW YORK (via telephone): Hi, Jane. How are you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How are you doing? Your question or thought?

ANNE: Ok. Well, you know, I`m thinking about Michelle`s theory and what she`s saying here, and quite honestly, I think there`s something very disingenuous about George. He was sad today, but you didn`t see the crocodile tears that you saw with Lee and the way that Casey seems so detached, the pursed lips, so stoic. There just seems to be something going on.

But I was wondering if anybody had done a DNA test on the father or any kind of paternity test on the father? It`s obvious --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Very good question. Beth Karas, take it away.

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": He is not the father. Lee is not the father, George is not the father.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So that is the answer to that question. And you have to see, not everybody is buying these tears. And so a lot of people - - we can never predict how the jury is going to react.

I will say that there was a woman who was part of the public who I rode the elevator down with. She actually said she clutched her cross, her crucifix the entire time, wept and decided that Casey was guilty because she did not cry when her dad was crying.

KARAS: One of the jurors, juror number 10, one of the men on the jury, sits in the back row -- when the jury was being sent out and George was on the stand breaking down and they needed to give him a break. As the juror was walking, he looked over his shoulder to take a look at George again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that means?

KARAS: He`s about George`s age.

Well, you know, just taking it in. Maybe he could relate to him. Not his experience but his age.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the only person who was harder to read in that courtroom than Casey Anthony are the jurors.

Now, speaking of Casey, she actually spoke out -- she spoke in court today. Not on the stand but she spoke from the defense table.

It was 8:30 a.m. in the morning. I was there. The jury was not there yet. Casey`s lawyers were also not in the courtroom; they were late. So the judge began the motion anyway, the hearing and asked Casey herself, since her attorneys were not there, a question about a complex legal matter.

Listen to this. Fascinating.


JUDGE BELVIN PERRY, PRESIDING OVER CASEY ANTHONY TRIAL: Do you want to ask that question now or do you want to wait until Mr. Baez or Mr. Mason or Ms. Sims arrive?

CASEY ANTHONY: I can answer that now.



PERRY: Thank you ma`am.


CASEY ANTHONY: You`re welcome.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Again, I was sitting right there. It was a stunning moment. And this is probably one of the first times she`s ever spoken in court.

The first thing I thought was she is smart, she is paying attention and you know what, she competent to stand trial even though her own lawyers implied just the other day that she wasn`t by asking for a competency hearing.

NEJAME: Well, that competency hearing was primarily a CYA in my opinion. They`re either talking about her taking her taking a stand or a plea. And they wanted to make sure that in fact she was competent for whatever one of those decisions or that rejection might have been.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think she`s going to -- yes or no -take the stand?

NEJAME: I think yes, she has to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think she`s going to take the stand?

KARAS: I think she needs to but I`m not sure if she will.

NEJAME: That`s true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Mike Brooks, do you think she`s going to take the stand? Five seconds.

BROOKS: I think she should, but if she does, Jeff Ashton will rip her apart.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ll have to see. It could be tomorrow. Huge day, absolutely huge day. Did this testimony hurt or help the defense? You see we`re divided here.

Nancy Grace is following all the drama in the courtroom. She is going to have the very latest in just a couple of minutes at the top of the hour.

Stay right there. We are all over this.



BAEZ: All of these media appearances stopped when the allegations of abuse came out, correct?

G. ANTHONY: I believe that was done through you, sir. Sir, I never would do anything like that to my daughter.

BAEZ: My question was you would never do admit to doing that.

G. ANTHONY: I would never do anything to harm my daughter in that way.

BAEZ: Only in that way?

G. ANTHONY: Sir --


PERRY: Sustained.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Finally, the defense addresses the allegations of molestation that they made in their opening statements, but did they do it in an effective manner? Essentially just asking George did you do it? He said no. How would you have handled it Mark Nejame?

NEJAME: Well, I would have never brought it up. First of all, if you`re going to bring it up in opening statement, have a plan. My God, you`ve had three years to prepare this case for trial. Where`s your witnesses? Where`s your history? Where`s something that you can plant the seed of doubt?

They ask somebody and they go no and it ends there? And that`s their case? It`s outrageous they would have made such a statement and had such a lack of evidence to support it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And Michelle Golland, one of the things that many people have said if Casey really, really knew that her dad had molested her and it was the truth, why would she leave little Caylee with granddad, which apparently happened all the time.

GOLLAND: Because, Jane, that`s what victims of incest do. The assumption that people are making around these clinical issues of how people would respond are just not how people respond. When you`re in an incest situation -- you`ve had Mackenzie Phillips on here before. You can ask her. This isn`t what people do when there are --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She doesn`t necessarily believe Casey Anthony. We had her on about this case for a long time. And she said --

GOLLAND: I`m not -- but I`m -- I was with her. I know. I was with that -- I was on that show. I know.

But what I`m saying is I`m sure that she left her children as well, Jane, because people do that when there are boundary violations and they`re in denial and they`re keeping secrets.

I want to ask you something. What also came out today that I found very interesting and I think shows this family dysfunction and doesn`t make sense to me is that Casey Anthony had never gone to a gynecologist until she was 19 after she was pregnant. And her mother is an ob-gyn nurse. As a woman, Jane, does that make sense to you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she works in an office. She works in an office.

GOLLAND: Still. Still.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It doesn`t make sense to me. I`m not saying that they`re going to get the "Good Housekeeping" seal of approval for parenting. But there`s a big difference between not doing every little thing you should do and being a child molester. Beth Karas?

KARAS: The defense will make that argument, though, that Michelle makes, in summation. They will say why do you think mom the nurse never sent her daughter whom we heard, I think, the jury heard from Cindy that she did have some problems, you know, menstrual problems in her teen years. She never went to an ob-gyn. Why? Jose will argue because mom knew that the sexual abuse would be discovered. That is going to be his argument.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Unbelievable.

Trish, North Carolina. Your question or thought, Trish.

TRISH, NORTH CAROLINA: Hi, Jane. I guess I`m a little confused. Because if -- let`s say she was molested by dad and the brother and 15 uncles. What does that matter? She murdered her child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I`m going to throw that out to Mike Brooks.

BROOKS: I`ve been saying that the whole time. And -- but they have not proven anything at all when it comes to the molestation that they threw out there in opening statement.

Did they prove anything today? Who else did they have today, Jane? Roy Kronk and Roy Kronk`s son. What was that? There was no value added there. None. None whatsoever.


BROOKS: And, you know, my dad always told me -- God rest his soul -- he told me, don`t let your mouth write a check that your butt can`t cash. I tell you what. Sunny Hostin`s talked about it. But he`s written a check, he`s not going to be able to cash that check.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And by the way, when she`s crying today, it`s when the grief expert is testifying about grief. And this is a woman she`s never met. And it was just very generic testimony.

I think Casey Anthony cried when it`s about her or who knows what triggers it. But her dad`s crisis certainly didn`t do that.

Casey`s ex-fiance claimed outside the jury`s presence that Casey told him that Lee her brother had also groped her while she slept, molested her. Jose Baez called Cindy back to the stand today and then asked her about that. This is fascinating. Check it out.


BAEZ: Good morning, Mrs. Anthony.

CINDY ANTHONY: Good morning.

BAEZ: Mrs. Anthony, do you recall several years back when there was an incident involving your son Lee going into Casey`s room at night?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Objection your honor.

PERRY: Overruled at this point.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe, quick reaction. That didn`t do anything for the defense. She said no.

EPISCOPO: No. And you know what; let me say one other thing about Cindy and her testifying -- Casey testifying. You know, this case probably will get reversed either on ineffective assistance of counsel or because the judge pushed everything too much. By not testifying, she can come up with a whole new defense. And she won`t be held accountable for what her lawyers said in opening. And that might be a better strategy, not to testify for the next trial and save a new defense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well, we are still in the midst of this. More of George`s emotional breakdown or was it a breakthrough on the stand?



BAEZ: You knew that you couldn`t have firearms in that house.

G. ANTHONY: Correct.

BAEZ: And you knew if a firearm was found in that house that Casey would have to go right back to jail.

G. ANTHONY: Correct.

BAEZ: And in fact, when they caught -- as soon as you drove up, within hours, the Department of Corrections was there.

G. ANTHONY: Right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The defense made a big deal that George Anthony bought a gun at one point because he said he was determined to confront the people who may have been involved in kidnapping, taking little Caylee. What point were they trying to make, Mark Nejame, and did it backfire on them?

NEJAME: It backfired horrendously. Think about it. Very simply, the defense theory is that George went ahead and conspired with Caylee (SIC) to hide Caylee`s accidental drowning but yet they brought out that he purchased a gun to go threaten her friends to find out where Caylee was.

Who goes and threatens somebody if, in fact, you know that -- what the circumstances are? It completely devastated that aspect of their case.


KARAS: But that gun -- having a gun was a violation of her house arrest conditions and Jose Baez has been trying to show that George is -- wanted to, like, frame her and get her violated, throw her back in jail and he did other things to put it all on her and off of him.


NEJAME: But it backfired.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. When the defense brought up George Anthony`s specifically his suicide attempt, this was a raw nerve that got touched in George and he defended, believe it or not, his own suicide attempt which is bizarre. Listen to this.


BAEZ: January 22nd is the day of this alleged attempt, is it not?

G. ANTHONY: No, sir it wasn`t an alleged attempt. It was an attempt on my -- I tried to take my own life.


G. ANTHONY: That`s not alleged. That happened.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now they open the door to the suicide note which the prosecution is going to try to present tomorrow in their rebuttal case or whenever they go to rebuttal.

NEJAME: There was no discussion of this. Jose Baez, being polite, opened the door and Jeff Ashton took him up on his invitation and walked right on in and that suicide note is coming in tomorrow; and all done by the defense opening the door once again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe, the reason why that is a problem is that even though the defense implied that this suicide note with their innuendo contained all sorts of admissions of guilt, it doesn`t contain, according to prosecution, any admission of guilt on the part of George to anything.

EPISCOPO: No. It`s going to help. It`s going to make him more believable. They`ll probably cry when they read this thing. Think about it. They probably want to see this note and that`s just going to seal her fate. It really is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now let me ask you a question, Michelle Golland. After George wept and we broke for lunch, I walked outside and I saw Cindy hugging and consoling George. What do you make of that?

GOLLAND: Well, I think, Jane, that obviously they are grieving over the loss of their granddaughter. I am in no way saying that Casey is not guilty or that there is anything about the case that is showing that she didn`t do this crime. And I think what I see in this family is this overwhelming dysfunction that started so long before.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We can all agree.

GOLLAND: Well --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what?

GOLLAND: I think it`s much darker.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A non-dysfunctional family. Anybody here who comes from a totally non-dysfunctional family, raise your hand. We`ll be right back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jose Baez, if you`re watching, Mark who used to represent Cindy and George says Casey has to take the stand. Casey has to take the stand or what?

NEJAME: Well, they made a bunch of mistakes. They might make another by not having her take the stand. But in my opinion the way it sits right now she`s going to be found guilty. I think she`s going to be convicted of homicide one.

I think if the jury looks at those 31 days and the state keeps it tight, they`ll show premeditation and if that doesn`t work aggravated child abuse causing death, the chloroform. I see it`s inescapable. That`s first degree in Florida. I think that`s the easy, clean case for the state.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. So you would say if Jose Baez is listening right now, have Casey take the stand tomorrow? Yes or no? We have five seconds.

NEJAME: Yes. In light of his opening statement, he has to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, Jose, if you`re watching, that`s the advice. Of course, it is up to you. It is actually up to Casey.

Nancy Grace is up next.