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JOHN KING, USA

Casey Anthony Acquitted

Aired July 5, 2011 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

JOHN KING, HOST: Thanks, Joe. Good evening, everyone.

Casey Anthony arrived in court this morning facing the death penalty. Tonight, she is preparing for freedom, cleared by a jury of allegations she murdered her 2-year-old girl, Caylee, and tossed her body into the woods.

After a seven-week trial that drew national attention that is a social media phenomenon, the 12 jurors deliberated a little more than 10 hours. Not guilty of first-degree murder, not guilty of aggravated child abuse and not guilty of aggravated manslaughter of a child.

Now, Casey Anthony was convicted of four misdemeanor accounts of giving false information to police investigating the diabolical murder of 2-year-old Caylee in 2008. That charge carries a maximum prison sentence of one year in prison.

So do the math. Casey Anthony has been in jail for roughly 32 months, so if the judge took the rare step of imposing the maximum for each count, she faces at most another 16 months behind bars, but many believe she could walk free as early as Thursday when the trial judge will hold a sentencing hearing. So here's how it played out in the courtroom.

(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 dated at Orlando, Orange County, Florida on this 5th day of July, 2011 signed the foreperson.

As to the charge of aggravated child abuse, verdict as to count 2, we the jury find the defendant not guilty to say we all dated at Orlando, Orange County, Florida this 5th day of July 2011 signed foreperson.

As to the charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, verdict as to count 3, we the jury find the defendant not guilty so say we all dated at Orlando, Orange County, Florida this 5th day of July 2011 signed foreperson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You can see Casey Anthony's emotion right there, and she repeatedly embraced her defense team as the court proceedings continued. After one of her defense attorneys took the high road, but another lashed out at what he called prejudicial media coverage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: 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 been always to make sure that there has been justice for Caylee and Casey because Casey did not murder Caylee. It's that simple.

J. CHENEY MASON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I hope that this is a lesson to those of you having indulged in media assassination for three years, bias, prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be. I'm disgusted by some of lawyers that have done this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The prosecution team was stunned by the verdict. The state's attorney called the jury's conclusion at odds with the facts, but said he would not criticize their decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAWSON LAMAR, STATE ATTORNEY, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: This is a dry bones case. The delay in recovering little Caylee's remains worked to our considerable disadvantage. Our mountain of evidence did not eliminate in the jury's view every reasonable doubt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: CNN's Martin Savidge was right there in the courtroom as the drama played out. He's with us now live from Orlando. Martin, we say Casey Anthony in the television pictures, but you're sitting just a few feet away as this jury verdict played out, the drama of it all. Take us inside that room.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, John. Yes, it was, you know, very different night and day between prior to the verdict being read and after it was read. We're all called into the room. We knew it was going to be 2:15 in the afternoon when this verdict is going to be read.

We knew it was going to be extremely dramatic. Many thought, OK, not that long of deliberation. It has to be bad news for the defense, and it was clear that as you got in there the defense team felt the same way.

They are all very silent and sat at their table and were gathering around Casey and they were sort of consoling her. Don't worry about this. It may be bad news, but that's all right. We'll work it out on appeal. That's almost what you heard them say. But then comes the verdict, and it was a total shock. There was the victory that they thought perhaps they had not achieved, and that's what you saw the complete turn-around. You no longer saw a trembling Casey you saw a jubilant team.

They came together as one and piling on hugging one another and sobbing. That seemed to be a real true emotion for all of them. So relieved, so surprised, so overwhelmed despite the fact that they felt they had done a pretty good case.

John, I mean, it was just amazing to watch the 180, the prosecution went in there. You could see they were pumped up. They felt they'd won, and then when the verdict was read, everything turned out the opposite from what many people had anticipated.

But the jury apparently had seen things differently than many of those who watch from outside the courtroom.

KING: Martin, that's an important point because one play the camera cannot turn is not allowed to turn is on the jury. You can watch the jury as this played out. What did they look like?

SAVIDGE: Well, you know, you watched them, of course, as they filed in. You were looking for any indication there was something in body language and something on the way they looked. I was watching their faces. I was waiting to see if they were looking in the direction of Casey Anthony.

Often, you think that's an indicator and they didn't make eye contact, or if they did it was quick and they looked up. That is usually not looking good for the defense if they aren't looking at that person.

But then, of course, the verdict came out, and it was very much in favor of the defense here. Now, one of the things that people will point out that this appeared to be a jury, the way it was stacked and selected, that would have been very much in the favor of the defense's arguments here.

What you'd love to know is what was it what was it the jury didn't buy or what was it that they didn't hear or what was it they picked up on where they didn't believe a guilty verdict of what they need to render here?

Unfortunately, they didn't come out and speak and their right. They do not have to speak to the public, and they chose not to. So we may never know.

KING: We may not. On this night, we do not know and we may never as Martin Savidge points out. Martin, thanks, fascinating reporting from inside the courtroom there.

Let's dissect both the verdict and the fascination with the Casey Anthony trial with our senior analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Sunny Hostin, a legal contributor for "In Session" on TruTV and Temple University professor Frank Farley. He's a human behavioral specialist. Sunny, I want to start with you. You've watched so much of this trial. Where did the prosecution go wrong?

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: You know, I think that perhaps they just oversold their theory. They went in with a first-degree murder theory, a premeditated theory.

In order for the jury to have a guilty verdict, they had to believe that Casey Anthony used chloroform to knock out her daughter and then placed duct tape over her nose and mouth intentionally suffocating her.

The thing is that the theory was that she did this because she wanted to live the beautiful life. I don't know if that came across, especially because witness after witness after witness testified that she had an amazing relationship with her daughter, and that she was a good, good mother.

So certainly while the prosecution never has to prove motive, the jury needs to know why she would do something like this. I would imagine after hearing from one of the alternate jurors, he's been giving a couple of phone interviews, he felt that motive was not shown and the evidence just didn't support intentional murder.

KING: We have some of that sound. We have not spoken as Martin Savidge just noted to jurors who actually made this decision decided not to speak to reporters today.

We don't know whether they will decide in the days ahead to come out. But listen to one of the alternate jurors describing how in his view the government failed to make its case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSSELL HUEKLER, ALTERNATE JUROR (via telephone): The prosecution did not prove their case. The big question that was not answered, how did Caylee die? I think there was probably a lot of discussion of it being a horrific accident that dad and Casey covered up. Unfortunately, it did snowball and got away from them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Jeff Toobin, we've had this conversation before in high profile cases. Does Sunny have a point? One of first big trial I covered was the Von Bulow trial.

After that, people said the prosecution tried too hard when there's so much pressure, so much media attention they tried to get in this case seven counts. In other cases, maybe it's 10 counts. Should they have taken one or two counts that they thought they had a stronger case on and focus just there?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's not so much the number of counts, John. It's the death penalty. I mean, this was from the start not a case that cried out for the death penalty. There were so many holes in the evidence. Where did she die? How did she die? What time did she die? What day did she die? None of this the prosecution knew. There were no eyewitnesses to the murder, as Sunny said, the issue of motive was very murky.

In a light of all that, some sort of accidental homicide would seem to have been a much more plausible theory. Interestingly, the alternate juror whom we just heard from put forth a theory that a lot of people had even though there wasn't much evidence.

That there was somehow some horrible accident, and Casey and her father tried to cover it up and the thing snowballed out of control. That frankly is a lot more plausible as a theory than the intentional murder first degree charge that I think -- that I know repelled the jury. They completely rejected it.

KING: Just before, about 90 minutes before the verdict came out, I had a conversation with HLN's Nancy Grace who, of course, also has been watching every second of this trial. I posed her the question that now we know the answer.

Could the jury come to the agreement with the defense, maybe we think she did it, but there's reasonable doubt. Listen to this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Did the defense do a good enough job of saying sure you might think she did it, but you can't know she did it? If you have reasonable doubt, you have to come back and say not guilty.

NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN'S "NANCY GRACE": Now, John King there you go. You don't have to know she did it the way you just said. The state must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

That is not a doubt founded and fancied such as a little green man could have come down and done it, John. Sure that could have happened, but did it happen? What is a reasonable hypothesis as to what happened?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Professor Farley, you heard Nancy Grace, she was pretty convinced that the prosecution had made its case, but you think they blew it?

FRANK FARLEY, PSYCHOLOGIST: They blew it totally, and they really failed to understand human behavior and human motivation. I think the icing on the cake was the idea of motive. My God, they didn't understand anything about human motivation.

The idea, you know, that -- they broke it down into two things, number one, kill for fun. Here you have Casey waking up one day and saying, I can have more fun if I kill my daughter and go out and party and so on. That was number one. Hello. Number two was Casey is getting old enough with mental developments sufficient to detect her mother's lies and she would rat her mother out. So therefore, Casey made a pre-emptive strike and killed her before that age. Where did they get these crazy ideas?

I mean, I studied human motivation for decades. I would never in my wildest imagination come up with these two ideas for this alleged murder.

So to me given the strong emphasis they made on that and remember at the end they repeated over and over again, use your common sense. Well, this jury looked at those motives and said there is no common sense here.

KING: Professor Farley, Sunny and Jeff are going to stay with us. We'll be back in a minute. We'll take a closer look at some of the evidence presented to this jury and also we look at media outright shock when the verdict came in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are seeing the inside of a stunned courtroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My God. It is a stunning verdict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We say this sometimes, it's a stunning verdict when it really isn't. This really is a stunning verdict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A stunned, jaw-dropping moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing less than a stunning reversal of fortune for Casey Anthony.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Holly Hughes, you gasped, you gasped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm stunned. I'm absolutely stunned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A sample there of the media reaction to the Casey Anthony verdict. Not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and not guilty also of aggravated manslaughter of a child.

Our panel is still with us, Jeff Toobin, Sunny Hostin and Professor Farley. Jeff Toobin, we live -- our society is built on the idea innocent until proven guilty. Why was the media so stunned here?

TOOBIN: Well, I think it's important to remember that approximately 80 percent to 90 percent of trials end in convictions. So any acquittal is pretty surprising.

But it is also true that the news media, especially cable news and especially our sister network, HLN had a very aggressive portrayal of this case that was very hostile to Casey Anthony.

That carried over at least to the media portrayals, but it's worth remembering that every time we had one of these heavily covered cases, we think can they get a fair trial?

O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, Michael Jackson, William Kennedy Smith, they all ended in acquittals. So maybe we're not as important as we think we are.

KING: And so let's hope the jury made the decision based on the evidence. Sunny, let's look at some of that evidence. The images coming out to us tonight that we haven't looked at that the court has released to us.

I want to put them up on the screen beginning with what we know as the evidence, the exhibit of the duct tape. How significant is this duct tape to the case the prosecutors ultimately failed to make.

HOSTIN: Well, it was very significant because according to the prosecution this duct tape was the instrument of death while Casey Anthony used the chloroform to render their daughter unconscious, they claimed that she used this piece of duct tape to place it over the nose and mouth of Caylee Anthony to suffocate her in a premeditated fashion.

I think that that perhaps may have been one of the things that the jury found hard to believe because the defense called several witnesses including Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found the remains and poked holes in the prosecution case that the duct tape was found over the nose and mouth of the remains because there was no DNA on the duct tape.

Roy Kronk admitted to moving the remains a bit with his meter stick. So there was some reasonable doubt as to whether or not this duct tape was placed over her nose and mouth and whether or not, in fact, this was the instrument of death.

KING: I want to show our viewers another photo released by the court again. This was a laundry bag taken from the scene in which is where the body was found, in this bag.

Jeff Toobin, part of the prosecution case was there were similar bags in the Anthony family garage, therefore, you can connect the dots. The jury did not want to do that. They decided circumstantial perhaps, but not enough to convince us to convict. Why?

TOOBIN: That bag was nothing so extraordinary and unique. There are a lot of plastic bags that look like that in the world, a lot of people use them. I think sometimes you just have a prosecution that may have tried too hard.

There was some so-called scientific evidence in this case like a supposed scientific proof of the smell of death in the car that was frankly not very believable and not probative of much of anything.

I think sometimes when the prosecution uses evidence that's not very persuasive, it damages the whole case and at least that seemed like part of the damage to me.

HOSTIN: It was the first time that that sort of evidence, the smell evidence has been used in Florida courts, and really under Frye I was sort of surprised it came in.

KING: Professor Farley, you talk about the Perry Mason impact, the Perry Mason effect of trials, cases like this. What do you mean?

FARLEY: Well, the culture of the courtroom. You know, back in the '50s and '60s we had Perry Mason, and everyone was transfixed with courtroom procedure. Since then we've had similar courtroom shows, so we love this.

The mystery, the uncertainty, the solving, what's behind the curtain so that all transferred into the Casey Anthony trial. I would like to say something going back a moment ago about why everyone is so shocked about this thing.

I think at the center of this is a child, and Americans don't like the murder of an innocent child who then gets thrown into the bush. We want the perpetrator for such a heinous thing, and nothing makes us madder in this country than that.

So I think the fact that we didn't get the perpetrator is leading to part of the psychological arousal nationwide over this.

KING: Professor Farley, Jeff Toobin and Sunny Hostin, appreciate your insights tonight, a dramatic case. We'll continue our coverage in the hour ahead. Much more to come on this case.

But next, the reason behind President Obama's unscheduled late afternoon appearance in the White House briefing room.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back. Here's what you need to know right now. This story just in to CNN, an alleged Somali terrorist suspect that was captured in the Gulf region then detained overseas since April arrived in the United States today.

The indictment unsealed today in New York provides further evidence of links between al Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and in Yemen.

Late this afternoon, President Obama stopped by the White House briefing room to invite both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to the White House this Thursday for talks on raising the government's debt ceiling and finding a long-term solution to the deficit crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's my hope that everybody is going to leave their ultimatums at the door. We'll all leave our political rhetoric at the door and do what's best for our economy and do what's best for our people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Both Senate and House Republican leaders accepted the president's invitation, but the House Speaker John Boehner, well, he issued a statement making clear his ultimatum is still important, tax increases cannot be on the table. Quote, "Such discussions will be fruitless unless the president recognizes economic and legislative reality."

A federal appeals court in San Francisco today ordered a temporary stop to the forced medication of the Tucson shooting defendant Jared Lee Loughner. The government have tomorrow evening to argue that force medication should continue.

Up next, returning to the Casey Anthony verdict today. Insights from Dr. Drew Pinsky. He was watching the dramatic verdict as it unfolded. He'll tell you what he saw next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Back now to our top story, Casey Anthony found not guilty of killing or abusing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee back in 2008. The stunning verdict came on the second day of jury deliberations. Nancy Grace of our sister network, HLN was in the courtroom at the start of those proceedings today, and I asked her about the defendant's demeanor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Well, she was extremely chatty, cheerful, smiling, giggling. I think if I were in the middle of a murder one trial where I might be facing the Florida death penalty injection by the needle, I wouldn't so happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: About 90 minutes after that conversation reason to be happy. The verdict came in guilty on four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to the police, but not guilty, acquitted on the three major felony charges, first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child.

Watching as the verdict came in was Dr. Drew Pinsky, the host of HLN's "Dr. Drew." So Dr. Drew, she arrives in court this morning facing the death penalty. She hears the verdict is coming. You can see in Casey Anthony the anxiety. She's biting her nails and then she hears those first three, the big verdicts. And you see the emotions in here.

What did you see as you watched this unfold?

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW": I saw exactly that same thing, John. This was excruciatingly anxiety provoking. Obviously, her entire life hung in the balance and really surprising verdicts. Everyone believed because it was a rapid process to this verdict and the fact that so much evidence was against her that the likelihood was we would hear a guilty verdict. The fact is it was not guilty, and you see this flood of emotion that follows.

KING: And so, again, I want to stay on this for a second, because it's so dramatic. She wakes up thinking she could face lethal injection. Tonight, she's thinking, I'm going to be free probably in 48 hours.

PINSKY: It's hard to imagine what it's like to go through that. And one of the stranger aspects of that phenomenon was how her parents reacted. Remember, this courtroom was very tightly controlled and people were not allowed to show any emotion or they were cast out of the courtroom. But her parents sat there stone-faced and then slid out of the courtroom immediately after the verdict.

That was sort of surprising because they, too, presumably were going through that same rollercoaster where their daughter's life hung in the balance.

KING: Their daughter's life hung in the balance. And they issued a statement after because obviously her defense changed dramatically. She said she had been abused by her father. She said, oh, actually, no, the baby wasn't missing. The baby drowned in the pool and my father and I disposed of the body.

The family issued a statement saying, "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 family then saying they want privacy.

What happens to them going forward?

PINSKY: Well, this is a family that's been completely shattered, and it's hard to imagine it's a family that's going to hang together after what Casey has done to them, the vortex she's created. All this chaos, this entire case is about her.

But that's a very interesting statement you just read there. They don't declare her innocence, and that's really been their position all along, that they sort of tipped a little bit their cards in terms of suggesting that they really don't think their daughter is fully innocent. They don't think that she intentionally did something, but her innocence was not something that they've ever -- that I've seen them recently proclaim.

And I think we all understand that. I think we understand we want to know what happened here, and the justice has not completely served. And we're all sort of surprised.

KING: And you say we want to know what happened here. Boy, all of us would love to hear from the jury, what swayed them in the end and how did they reach this verdict so quickly.

What's your sense of that in analyzing them? Sequestered since May, they hear this bizarre change in the defense strategy. They don't get a smoking gun. Even the prosecution concedes we don't have a smoking gun. What's it like to be on this jury?

PINSKY: Right. It's got to be very difficult.

And there were several members of this jury that actually studied who -- the profile of the people around this jury, that really felt they were not in a position to judge somebody, and particularly could not put somebody to death for a crime. They just outright felt that way. So, already you had a jury that was disposed to having difficulty finding a guilty verdict.

But, you know, think about how difficult it is to sit there and hear all this material and say that I have no reasonable doubt. I have reasonable doubt. I've been listening to all of this.

So, I could just imagine a juror sitting there and listening to this might think, you know, yes, I think she was involved, but not murder one.

KING: And how does that -- how does that play out in the mind? The jury is sitting there, watching her throughout this trial. They're just feet away. She does not testify but she shows very different emotions throughout the course of the trial.

Do you become sympathetic?

PINSKY: Absolutely, you could. As Jane Velez-Mitchell said, it almost comes like a Stockholm syndrome where you become -- you develop a relationship at a distance with the person who is accused of a crime. And the fact is, the way the courtroom is set up, she was really facing them a lot of the day.

Now, mind you, what we all observed was she behaved very differently when the jury was in the room. Then we saw her behaving when the jury was not around. A lot of people made note of that.

The fact still remains that the jury was there face to face with her for quite some time, and may have developed some sympathy for her.

KING: Why did they wear so much outrage outside of the courtroom? Why did so many people when they heard the jury had a verdict, the jury was coming -- why so much presumption, aha, she's guilty?

PINSKY: Because, remember, the jury -- there's many reasons for that. I hope I can squeeze it in a few seconds here. But the fact is the jury only sees certain information. We all, the court of public opinion, have seen a lot more. We all are very clear that she is not innocent, that there's horrible lies, bad parenting, egregious behavior after knowing the child was dead. I mean, things people just can't forgive her for, and there's a feeling that she's getting away with murder literally, that she was involved in it some way.

Now, maybe the prosecution overshot strategically by going for murder one. But there's a feeling she got away with something. And that's what is so disturbing for people. KING: And why, in closing, Dr. Drew, why does a case like this -- it's not O.J. Simpson. She was not well-known before him. Why does something like this capture the national imagination like it did?

PINSKY: For so many reasons. We are indeed sort of enticed by courtroom culture. We are also enticed by the unknown. We like reading mysteries. We like the family drama playing out, the dysfunction, the interpersonal aspects of this.

And at the core of this is a little girl and nothing could be more evocative for this. And add to that the fact that the very foundation of life, the relationship with a child and mother, is what's being called into question here. So, naturally, it captures our imagination.

KING: I said I was closing, but you raised something and I want to sneak in one more. You've covered a lot of cases, observed a lot of cases, dealt with and counseled people involved in high profile incidences in cases like this.

What happens to Casey Anthony? Does she disappear or do we hear from her? Does she decide she wants to tell her story?

PINSKY: My prediction is -- this is the most disturbing part of this entire case, is that she's going to be seen, heard from, and probably monetize, capitalize on this experience, and that is where things really go off the rail for me. That's a very sad and I'm sorry to say probable reality.

KING: Dr. Drew Pinsky, as always, appreciate your insights.

PINSKY: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Still to come, major new developments in another courtroom drama that has captured global attention. Allegations of sexual assault against a prominent French political and financial leader.

But, next, Internet traffic to new sites skyrocketed, spiked as the Casey Anthony verdict came in. Take a look at this. More tweets than on the Super Bowl in this case. Look at worldwide web traffic here, down in most of the world, up 46 percent in North America, in the hour or so just after the verdict. Why is it? Why is it that this case so captures the imagination?

That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You almost have to film and watch somebody commit a crime and have it on video for something to happen today. It's just disturbing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one wins in this situation. There's a 2 1/2-year-old that's dead and it's just really sad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if they were watching the same thing we were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't believe this. To a child, that's disgusting. This is disgusting.

REPORTER: You don't agree with the jury, then?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not at all.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KING: That jury in Orlando, Florida, acquitted Casey Anthony of murder, abuse and manslaughter. But as you can hear right here, a different story in the court of public opinion.

CNN's David Mattingly has been outside the courthouse sampling the reaction.

And, David, not only do most of these people you're speaking to there disagree, but with such vehemence and emotion.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. When you look at the crowds here, they divide up into relatively two different categories. First, the people who come here just to take in the sheer spectacle of it. They're here for the entertainment value, almost like tourists.

But then there were people who were incredibly emotionally invested in this case. They wanted to see justice for little Caylee. I've heard that 100 times since I've been down here. They want justice for little Caylee.

And when the verdict came back the way it did today, it really stunned these people who have invested so much of their thought into this case. They really thought they were going to see a guilty verdict today, and you saw some of the reaction a few moments ago.

KIGN: And when you talk to people, David, do they assign blame? Are they blaming the jury? Are they blaming the prosecutor or are they just of generally mad?

MATTINGLY: There's not a whole lot of detail, but they feel like there is enough blame to go around. They thought that the prosecutors did a great job. There were times when I would see people outside the courthouse wearing a t-shirt that said team Ashton after one of the prosecutors. They were big on what the state were doing in this case. They thought they had it nailed down after their powerful closing arguments they gave the other day.

It was a shock to everybody across the board who was believing the prosecution had this wrapped up.

KING: David Mattingly, live for us outside the courthouse. David, thank you. And the reaction not limited to just right there in Orlando outside the courtroom. Let's go back and take a closer look at some of the social media and the Internet traffic generated as this verdict played out.

There we go. Look at it in the context of the past top web events as you watched this play out. The Casey Anthony verdict today -- global page views per minute about in trial, 3.2 million. That's about a million shy of Osama bin Laden's killing a couple of months back. You remember that.

The President Obama elected. Mubarak resigns.

So, you see, not by any means the top event on the web. But right up there with some pretty dramatic, global and U.S. news stories right there, that's the Casey Anthony verdict today. If you just look at this idea, Google searches about this today watch -- look at this -- Google searches around that time, 4:30 p.m., the verdict came in a little after 2:00 p.m., Headline News, "Nancy Grace," Orlando Sentinel, Channel 9 News, that's in Orlando, without a doubt those four.

Number six: Caylee Anthony. Also other news sites down here. People could have been looking there for news as well, dominating the discussion, just driving conversations online. Again, more tweets than the Super Bowl.

We asked Crimson Hexagon, which takes -- tracks all this traffic on the Internet about tweets, not one tweet they could find in the hours after the verdict that agreed with the jury's decision.

Joining us now to discussion this case, the "Newsweek" and "Daily Beast" correspondent Diane Dimond and Jim Moret, he's the chief correspondent for "Inside Edition."

Diane, let me just start with why. Why does a case like this not only captivate the imagination but in such an emotional way?

DIANE DIMOND, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: John, I was in Florida for the jury selection. Even then, it was captivating people. I met so many people there, at jury selection that had come from out of town. Well, we were going to take a vacation, and we came here anyway. My husband is at the beach, but I had to come here.

I think it's because if we can't protect the youngest and most innocent among us, then who are we as a people? That's what I heard.

I agree with your reporter on the scene tonight. It was about justice for this little girl. Somebody killed her.

And you know what, John? It's still an open homicide case. Somebody killed this little girl. If it isn't that woman right there, Casey Anthony, who is it?

KING: And, so, Jim, I remember your work. I think it was just about every day you were inside the courtroom during the O.J. Simpson trial. A very different case -- he was a celebrity, he was a sports figure, he was well-known. Nobody knew Casey Anthony before this trial.

But any similarities in your view?

JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDITION" CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's similar in the sense it became daytime programming to be blunt, and frankly millions upon millions of people knew every aspect and every detail of this case and knew all the people by first-name basis.

And there's something about watching this case that was so disturbing to think that a mom could be accused of killing her own child and then inconceivably to be out partying and got a tattoo that says beautiful life to act in an inconsistent way. She's a young, beautiful girl. The child was young, beautiful.

I think that really touched all of us, especially those of us that are parents. It was riveting from that standpoint.

KING: And the defense had to know that coming into the trial, Jim and Diane. So their challenge was to: (a), convince the jury to have a reasonable doubt, (b), yes, it's a circumstantial case, yes, she's a liar, yes, she was a bad mother. The defense was willing to concede those points. They wanted to say they could not connect the dots.

And one of the things they did, I want you to listen -- to this the defense attorney's opening statement here where he essentially changes the narrative, the whole question is, you know, how did she not report this baby missing? How could a mother not report her own 2-year-old child missing?

The defense came in and said actually she knew the child was not missing. She knew the child had drown in the family pool, and tried to cover up. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Everyone wants to know what happened to her. How in the world can a mother wait 30 days before ever reporting her child missing? That's insane. That's bizarre. Something's just not right about that. Well, the answer is actually relatively simple. She never was missing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Jim, a lot of people criticized this defense team during the trial. In hindsight, did they stir up enough doubt, stir up alternative scenarios?

MORET: Well, it wasn't up to the defense to prove this person was not guilty. It's up to the prosecution to prove that Casey Anthony did this crime.

And this defense was smart in one sense. It's easy to say, do you hate her? Yes. We hate her, too. How can a mom act this way if her kid is missing? But does that mean she killed this child?

The prosecution hasn't proven its case. That's basically what the defense I think was doing in this case. And, frankly, they did it successfully.

KING: And, Diane, you mentioned before there for jury selection. I want you to listen to the take of HLN's Nancy Grace. We had a conversation about this earlier today.

And she was saying that, and from her own past experience as a prosecutor as well, that, you know, we focus a lot on the testimony. We focus a lot on the passionate opening and closing arguments. She thinks jury selection was critical.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN'S "NANCY GRACE": I will tell you where the defense made its best move, in jury selection. They put some people on the jury, John, that claim -- specifically juror number four -- that she could not judge other people. The state tried to kick her off, the judge wouldn't let them. If they win a victory at all, it won't be their expertise in the courtroom putting on the case. It will be the happenstance of a couple of jurors that made it on that jury.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Do you agree with that take?

DIMOND: No, I don't. I'm sorry. I think what happened here -- and this concerns me greatly because this is what I do for a living. I cover trials. I believe what happened in that courtroom, John, was that the defense threw so much spaghetti against the wall. It was the meter reader, it was the dad, he touched her, oh, so did the brother -- that in the end, it was easier for this panel to say, oh, well, I have some reasonable doubt.

I don't think we do a good enough job explaining reasonable doubt. You know, someone can say the sun is not going to rise tomorrow, but that's not really reasonable. Maybe, but it's not reasonable.

And I think their minds got so cluttered with things that had nothing to do with this case. They only deliberated for 11 hours, and this was after a seven-week case. Unheard of. Never asked for one piece of testimony to be read back. Never wanted to hear the prison video again. Nothing.

They went into that jury room, and I don't like to second guess jurors because this is our justice system and I accept this verdict. But 11 hours? How could they thoroughly have discussed every seven counts in 11 hours?

KING: Jim, it's a fascinating point. It's an interesting point. You don't want to criticize a jury. These are people who gave up their lives and for public service.

However, it's a huge case, seven counts, just the jury instructions were 20-something pages long.

Do you think sequestration, Jim, has something to do with the fact the jury was just done and, if they had any doubt at all, they just wanted to go?

MORET: Well, I'll remind you that the jury in the O.J. Simpson case was sequestered, and after a nine-month case, took them four hours to come back with a not guilty verdict.

Diane and I both covered that. We covered the Michael Jackson trial, again a not guilty verdict. I think sequestration could have had an impact.

DIMOND: So did celebrity. We made Casey Anthony a celebrity.

KING: You think that was the impact? Because to your point a moment ago Diane about throwing spaghetti up on the wall, I remember the von Bulow trial and Tom Puccio's great line at the end was, no insulin injection. They couldn't prove it. They couldn't connect the dots.

At the O.J. trial, it was -- if the gloves don't fit, you must acquit.

You think it was not one thing. It was just a combination of throwing things?

DIMOND: Right. And I agree that I think the state did the better presentation. But there was duct tape. They couldn't put in Casey's hand. There was chloroform. They couldn't have her buying it or making it.

There were a lot of -- there were gaps enough in their case that a jury could go back and say, well, I have a reasonable doubt.

KING: Excellent insights from two very experienced court watchers, Diane Dimond and Jim Moret. Very much appreciate your help tonight.

DIMOND: Thanks, John.

KING: Thank you very much.

MORET: Sure.

KING: A number of important developments today in yet another big court case, one that has sparked an international media frenzy. Next, a French writer accuses Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: A lot of important developments today in the court case surrounding the former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. CNN has learned his attorneys will meet with prosecutors tomorrow. Spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney's office tells CNN those prosecutors are not yet ready to throw out the sexual assault charges against Strauss-Kahn despite questions -- serious questions about his accuser's credibility.

Also, today, the accuser sued "The New York Post" for libel. And at least three occasions, the newspaper has published articles accusing her of being a prostitute.

In France today, another woman filed a criminal complaint accusing Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape. The 32-year-old writer whose mother is a midlevel operative in France's socialist party says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her eight years ago.

A lot to go over -- consequences both here and in France.

Joining us is French TV correspondent Thierry Arnaud.

Thierry, thanks for being with us tonight. Let's start with a very important meeting with the prosecutors here. They are telling us tonight, no, they are not ready to drop the charges, but there seem to be in private conversations -- and I'm interested in what your sources are telling you -- indications that it is heading in that direction.

THIERRY ARNAUD, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BFM TV: Yes. We've heard the same for the past few days now, John, and indeed what you are just reporting, a bit of a surprise to me because we were expecting, as most of the French media, that at this point in time, that he was ready to drop the case. So, it's going to be very interesting to see if we can find out about it, what comes out of this meeting tomorrow.

KING: And I want to talk about now these new allegations in France. The mother of the alleged victim is a mid-level operative in the same party as Mr. Strauss-Kahn. She spoke to your network back in May.

The victim's name, the victim's name is Tristane -- the alleged victim, I should say is Tristane Banon. Her mother, Anne Mansouret, spoke to your network back in May, explaining why she told her daughter keep quiet. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNE MANSOURET, TRISTANE BANON'S MOTHER (through translator): She was sobbing. She said, mom, something terrible happened to me. He jumped on me. I told her, listen, you know, well, if you had been raped I wouldn't have hesitated. There wasn't a rape, strictly speaking. There was an attack.

For the rest of your life you would have on your resume, you know? Tristane Banon, that's the girl who -- well --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Help us, Thierry, understand this. First, let's start with the legal case. Is it now -- is it the sense in France that this one will go forward?

ARNAUD: It is very difficult to say at this point. On the one hand, John, as you know -- as you expect when one talks about attempted rape, the charges are extremely serious. So, yes, the French justice system will look into it very carefully, very systematically, and very deeply.

On the other hand, the facts, as you mentioned, are eight years old so, which means that for obvious reason there will not be any physical evidence whatsoever, that the testimonies might be difficult to pinpoint to the extent that the witnesses or whomever she might have spoken with, you know, made confessions to might have distant memories of what she said exactly and the circumstances in which she said those things.

So, she seems very serious about it, very determined, and to what extent -- to some extent you could wonder what's in it for her, why would she do that if this was not true, to sell more books? To become famous? You know, it's not an obvious reason to do such things.

But it will be a very hard case to prove, as well. So, it's very hard to make predictions in that sense.

KING: And when you hear the mother in that interview saying she essentially told her daughter -- well, there wasn't a rape, there was an attempted rape. So, you don't want to be known forever as Tristane Banon, the girl who, well -- is that, in your sense from the reporting of your network, a political calculation, more of a cultural calculation?

ARNAUD: Well, it's a very interesting question, John, because as you mentioned, she was an operator within the socialist party. And she -- you know, it has been said in France, and again, it's very hard to prove, that she acted partly because it was her own political interest to do so. There are very serious and, you know, very close links.

For example, Tristane Banon also happens to be the goddaughter of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's former wife. So, these people are very close to one another. And that may explain to some extent the reason why this seemed to have been some pressure on her to keep quiet.

But what she says today is she cannot stand this anymore. You know, presumably what happened or is alleged to have happened here, it mean it brought back a lot of memories to her. And she made up her mind as a result -- to the large extent of what happened in New York to press those charges, she says.

KING: If six months ago we're having a conversation about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, it would be about him as a potential candidate for president in the next election in France. We talked when this case was first filed in New York. What is the sense in France now? Do people see a viable path to return to politics?

ARNAUD: Well, it's very difficult to predict. You know what, this is both a combination of announcing or guessing her now that the charges are going to be dropped, and this new case in France has put heels again in the presidential campaign.

Do you remember those conspiracy theories we were talking about? In the hours after he was arrested, they went away quickly. Guess what? They are back with a vengeance.

So, some of my French colleagues are reporting today that it has been let be known to French socialist leader that he will not run for president. I hadn't been able to confirm this. But no matter why he decides, if it in any way comes back into French politics. It will be a very interesting story. And indeed, we make the socialist party's life somewhat difficult for the next few weeks.

KING: And we will keep our eye on that as well as the legal developments. Thierry Arnaud, thank you.

That's all for us tonight. See you tomorrow.

"IN THE ARENA" starts right now.