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Interview With Casey Anthony Prosecutor Jeff Ashton

Aired July 6, 2011 - 21:00   ET


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.


PINSKY (voice-over): The prosecutor in the Casey Anthony case is here for an exclusive primetime interview. Jeff Ashton will tell us what he`s thinking one day after the shocking not guilty decision. What would he have done differently? Does he think Casey is getting away with murder?

JUDGE BELVIN PERRY, ORANGE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Casey Marie Anthony, a jury of your peers have found you not guilty. At this time I will adjudge you to be not guilty.

PINSKY: Could she walk free in just 12 hours from now? Let`s go figure this out.


PINSKY: Good evening. This is Dr. Drew, coming to you from New York City.

And of course the verdict is in. Casey Anthony, found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony. Take a look at this.



PERRY: First-degree murder --

CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S MOTHER: And it smells like there`s been a dead body in the damn car.

PERRY: -- aggravated child abuse --

ANTHONY: Her mother finally admitted that she`s been missing. We`re talking about a 3-year-old little girl.

PERRY: -- aggravated manslaughter of a child --

CASEY ANTHONY, DEFENDANT: I got arrested on a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) whim today.

PERRY: -- and four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Casey is a very effective liar.


CASEY ANTHONY: I was scared that something would happen to her if I did notify the authorities.

They`ve already said they are going to pin this on me if they don`t find Caylee.

PERRY: The state has served notice that it is seeking the death penalty against the defendant, Casey Marie Anthony.


PINSKY: The jury deliberated for those charges for 10 hours, 40 minutes, and 33 seconds. Then, in a courtroom that was so silent you could hear a pin drop, one by one the clerk read "not guilty, not guilty."

Take a look and then we will talk.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First-degree murder, not guilty.

Aggravated child abuse, not guilty.

Aggravated manslaughter, not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A stunned courtroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone is stunned and shocked because of what we felt was overwhelming evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody thought she did it.

RYAN SMITH, HOST, "IN SESSION," TRUTV: And I thought I might have heard it wrong. That`s how shocked we were.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m shocked and angry.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s kind of unbelievable.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They call this justice?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve been OJ`d! This is the worst thing to happen to Florida since the hanging chads!

NANCY GRACE, HOST, "NANCY GRACE": Everybody leaves with a broken heart.

The devil is dancing tonight.


PINSKY: "We have been OJ`d."

This verdict sparked outrage and shock waves across the nation and Orlando.

Tonight, we have an exclusive primetime interview with the one man everyone wants to talk to right now. That is the Casey Anthony prosecutor, Jeff Ashton.

Watch this.


JEFF ASHTON, CASEY ANTHONY PROSECUTOR: Casey was saddled, tethered, to a child. The life that she wanted was more important. She chose to sacrifice her child.

This murder was premeditated.

There`s just no reason to put Duct tape over the face of a child, living or dead.

The first piece goes over the mouth. The second piece goes over the nose. One, two, three. Then she put her in the trunk and forgot about her.

People don`t make accidents look like murder. Casey Anthony is guilty of murder in the first degree.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty."


PINSKY: That is in spite of the incredibly powerful closing arguments, that idea that we don`t make an accident look like a murder. I thought that was a very powerful statement.

This literally had trial watchers outside the courtroom when the not guilty plea came in, and when they were here -- not the not guilty part. When they were hearing Jeff Ashton`s closing statements, they were yelling outside the courtroom, "Ashton for president!"

I don`t know if you knew that.

We`re going to ask him, does he think that Casey got away with murder? And we`ll get to his very first reaction to juror number three coming forward and saying she does not believe Casey is innocent.

But first, I want to go straight to news happening right now.

Vinnie Politan is live in Orlando.

Vinnie, is there a chance Casey will walk free tomorrow?

VINNIE POLITAN, HOST, "SPECIAL REPORT": Absolutely. There`s a very good chance she could walk free.

She`s done three years already awaiting trial. She had some check fraud charges. She served her time on that.

So she`s put in about a year and a half now. And the question is, what will the judge do with these four counts of lying to police officers?

Potentially, they could merge into one. Each count holds -- carries a maximum of one year in prison. So, potentially, if they merge, it could be a maximum of one year. She`s already served more than that, so she very well could walk out of that courtroom tomorrow.

PINSKY: Well, and this is a -- let`s call it a heavy-handed judge. I mean, the fact is, bird boy down there -- I don`t know if any of you saw this. There was a guy that flipped off the cameras live on TV, and he got four days in jail for that.

I would think that the judge is going to not be -- not show a lot of clemency here. He`s going to want to sort of show some sense of justice, I would think.

Do you think there`s something he can do to sort of increase the punishment?

POLITAN: Well, the most he can do is he can look at these four counts and run them consecutively, one after another. But even there, she`s already served a lot of time. So she`ll be eligible to come out pretty soon.

And the reason she might do it, Drew, is because -- the reason he may do this, Judge Belvin Perry, is he listened to the evidence. These lies to police, he knows what these lies are about.

You know, these things are about a missing girl that`s not missing, a missing girl who is dead, a girl who was decomposing in the woods around the corner from Casey Anthony`s house. So he understands all of it. He heard her statement.

So that may play a role here in this case tomorrow morning, 9:00 a.m., when Casey Anthony returns.

PINSKY: I would think. Thank you for the update, Vinnie.

I would think so, because the fact her lies -- again, they were always a vortex she was creating, but it cost taxpayers and manpower. I mean, these were lies that had significant effects.

Now, we are keeping you up to date on everything going on in Orlando as we await Casey`s sentencing tomorrow.

I`m going to go now to my special guest, a primetime exclusive with Casey Anthony prosecutor Jeff Ashton.

All right, Jeff. Thank you for being here. I really do appreciate it.

ASHTON: My pleasure.

PINSKY: So, despite the verdict, which I know you disagree with, and I know you`ve been very careful not to criticize the jury -- and we were in the makeup room a few minutes ago and I was asking you, is this an indictment of our system or is this our system functioning properly? I will not let you answer that yet.

But what happened? What do you think? What does your gut tell you Casey did? Because nobody believes she`s innocent. Nobody.

You were there. You`ve been dealing with this for years. What do you think happened?

ASHTON: I think, you know, exactly what I said in closing arguments is what I think happened. I mean, that`s the beauty of being a prosecutor, is you never really have to argue something that you don`t honestly believe. And I think what we argued is what we believed actually happened.

PINSKY: And so from your perspective -- well, one of the things -- I have seen you being interviewed today on various programs. And one of the things that you have sort of said, more strongly than I realized watching you in the courtroom, was that the Duct tape was really a central feature of your case.


PINSKY: In fact, I want to show you addressing the jury, showing them where the Duct tape was placed on Caylee`s skull. Take a look at this.


ASHTON: Why do you need three? You need three because your purpose is not to simply silence the child, your purpose is to make sure the child cannot breathe.

The first piece goes over the mouth, but that doesn`t secure the nose. The second piece goes over the nose, but you can still have some gaps. So you have to be thorough. You have to have three.


PINSKY: I want to ask you a little bit about the defense. They didn`t spend a lot of time poking holes in your theories. In other words, they didn`t attack that hypothesis, did they?


PINSKY: They came out with their own theories that they then had to prove, but then didn`t.

ASHTON: Right. And they never really addressed the Duct tape. They never really gave any suggestion of a reason why you would Duct tape even a dead child.

PINSKY: Well, it`s so strange, because as you were saying, as I hear you saying today, that was a central feature you were emphasizing to the jury, and yet they just kind of blew it off.

ASHTON: Well, I don`t know. Maybe they came up with their own hypothesis of why.

PINSKY: But they didn`t suggest -- let me float a theory that I have been sort of talking about on this show, and see if it does anything for you, which is that, you know -- and I brought this up with a medical examiner who I was interviewing, and he said the same thing I did, which was that for centuries, undertakers put things on the mouth and nose because stuff comes out of a dead body. And if you`re trying to cover something up, the first thing you`re going to do is cover this stuff up because stuff is going to start flowing out, especially a child. You turn up side down --

ASHTON: Well, you`re right. I mean, fluid comes out of any opening in the body.

PINSKY: Particularly mouth and nose though.

ASHTON: Mouth and nose.

PINSKY: That`s why the undertaker would put the cotton in and stuff.

ASHTON: Mouth and nose, ears, eyes, and of course the lower orifices.


ASHTON: But it just -- you know, I suppose you could say that. But it just never really made sense to me that you would need three pieces of Duct tape. She`s in a bag. You know, that -- they never argued that.

PINSKY: They didn`t bring it up. I know, they didn`t bring it up at all.


PINSKY: And I`m just kind of floating it as a possibility.

I wondered if the jury -- that that`s one of the things that the jury sort of wondered about. I`d love to talk to them.

ASHTON: It`s possible. You know, you never know. You never know what jurors are thinking in the back.

PINSKY: It`s different than O.J. Simpson, when there`s people with their heads half cut off and there`s footprints, and it`s like, OK, got it.

ASHTON: Right.

PINSKY: Somebody did that.


PINSKY: It`s a little harder, I would think, for a jury to sort of understand this kind of cause of death.

ASHTON: Well, it is, because there`s not someone telling them. It`s not easy.


ASHTON: You know, you don`t have someone telling you this is the cause of death, so the jurors actually have to --

PINSKY: You have to make that leap.

ASHTON: -- make that leap. They have to analyze themselves. So --

PINSKY: Was that a place, do you think, maybe things stumbled?

ASHTON: Perhaps. Honestly, you know, I always felt that when you look at the photographs -- and I know the photographs haven`t been made public without blurring, which I`m glad they haven`t, but --


ASHTON: -- my feeling was always, if you look at that photograph of how the body was found, where the tape was, the skull, to me I couldn`t look at that and it not --

PINSKY: Because it tells a story.

ASHTON: It tells a story.

PINSKY: That`s interesting.

ASHTON: And if it didn`t tell the jury the same story it told me, then so be it.

PINSKY: That`s interesting. Interesting.

All right. Coming up, Casey`s unforgettable lies.

Watch this.


DET. YURI MELICH, CASEY ANTHONY INTERROGATION: Everything that you told me is a lie, including the fact that, you know, your child was last seen about a month ago and that you don`t know where she is.

CASEY ANTHONY: I have no clue where she is.

MELICH: Sure you do.


PINSKY: Would anything have been different if Casey took the stand?

Plus, we`re going to get Jeff Ashton`s take on the defense`s champagne toast and a juror`s shocking confession, right after this.


JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If you hate her, if you think she`s a lying, no-good slut, then you`ll start to look at this evidence in a different light.

ASHTON: We can only hope that the chloroform was used before the tape was applied so that Caylee went peacefully, without fear. But go she did.

BAEZ: All the fantasy forensics in the world don`t make it so. All of the lies that you`ve had to swim through don`t get you any closer to the truth.



PINSKY: This is truly such a sad, sad case. I get that -- I am getting that horrible feeling I get a couple of times a night when I report on this. Jeff is shaking his head. And we will probably never know how Caylee Anthony really died.

But prosecutor Jeff Ashton fought hard to prove the toddler`s death was premeditated and the killer was her mother, Casey Anthony.

Jeff Ashton is my special guest for the hour.

Now, there`s no denying that the state and the defense, led by Jose Baez, maintained a contentious relationship throughout the trial. It came to an explosive head during closing arguments.

Watch this.


BAEZ: We`re not talking about fantasy forensics anymore. We`re talking about cold, hard evidence, evidence that points to one person, and one person only.

And he can get up here and lie all he wants, and dance around the truth, but the truth is the truth. And he -- and depending on who`s asking the questions, whether it`s this laughing guy right here or whether it`s myself --

ASHTON: Your Honor, objection.

PERRY: Sustained.

Approach the bench.


PINSKY: Going too far, right? He was going too far.

ASHTON: Well, just -- Jose tends to get a bit histrionic sometimes, and I should not have shown my amusement at that. But all of us were exhausted and tired, and tensions were high. And it was what it was. I should not have allowed my amusement at his antics to have shown.

PINSKY: His flamboyance.

ASHTON: Yes, if you want to call it that.

PINSKY: Do you think it adulterated the jury at all?


PINSKY: No. Didn`t affect anything?

ASHTON: No. I think it didn`t affect anything.


ASHTON: I think the jury -- whatever decision the jury made, I`m confident they made it based on their view of the evidence, not on what any of us did.

PINSKY: OK. So, in spite of Jose -- in spite of Jose, they arrived the that conclusion.

ASHTON: You know, I would hope that juries make decisions based on the evidence, and I`ve got to believe in the system enough to know that that`s what they did, and not based on what he did or I did, or whether we liked each other or didn`t like each other.

PINSKY: Now, we have a video of the defense`s post-verdict celebration where they were toasting champagne. Let`s take a look at it.

Now, the defense toast we`re watching right now was made right across the street from the courtroom. I remember the first time I saw a defense team celebrating was in the O.J. Simpson trial, and I was really stunned. I thought, I guess this is what attorneys do.

Is that appropriate?

ASHTON: It`s not something that I would ever do or participate in. You know, to each his own. We all have our own ways of doing things, our own idea of what professionalism is. It`s not something I would do.

PINSKY: Right there with the cameras within reach and stuff.


PINSKY: And by the way, that was right after Cheney Mason had just really taken aim at the media.

ASHTON: Right.

PINSKY: Was that critiqued? Do you think it was appropriate also or well placed?

ASHTON: Well, I mean, it would have probably had more legitimacy if it had not come from a defense team that played to the media so much. That was one of the issues that we had with the defense team, is that early on - - and somewhat less later, but at various times we were very uncomfortable with the level at which they were trying their case in the press, and then turning around and complaining about the press, you know, the -- we used to laugh at them because the press left us alone. We didn`t talk to them.

PINSKY: That`s very interesting, because then he takes off after the press.

ASHTON: Right.

PINSKY: Well, up next, a Casey Anthony juror comes forward and says handing down the not guilty verdict made her sick to her stomach. Jeff Ashton is going to weigh in on this.

And the defense says the Anthonys are abusive liars, but the prosecution paints them as a relatively loving family. Who are the Anthonys?

More with Jeff Ashton after this.


ASHTON: -- how people think and act and why they do what they do. It`s a trip down a rabbit hole. Casey Anthony lies. It`s the pattern and the reason that she lies.



ASHTON: Now, we can only hope that the chloroform was used before the tape was applied so that Caylee went peacefully, without fear. But go she did.

And she died because she could not breathe. She died because she had three pieces of Duct tape over her nose and mouth. And she died because her mother decided that the life that she wanted was more important. This murder was premeditated, and the defendant is guilty.


PINSKY: I`m having an interesting experience here as I watch this tape. I haven`t found a single person that doesn`t believe Jeff Ashton did not do an excellent job. And when you see it all strung together, you really get a sense of his professionalism and the power of his closing arguments and much of his case when it`s all kind of put together like this.

And it certainly hit home in the court of public opinion. But the 12- person jury was not convinced.

Tonight, breaking news. One juror has come forward and said making the decision not guilty made her sick to her stomach.

Juror number three has been identified as Jennifer Ford. I guess she was a nursing student, if I remember right.

And she told ABC News that the not guilty verdict was not easy, and in fact made jurors cry. Now, I don`t know if that will really pass the sniff test on all this, but it`s an interesting thing she says.

She says, "I did not say she was innocent. There just wasn`t enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be."

Jeff, your reaction to what Jennifer is saying there?

ASHTON: Well, I do actually recall now that you mention it not Ms. Ford, but one of the other jurors had some tears at the time the verdict was read. We all -- Linda and Frank and I noticed that.

It`s got to be difficult for them. I mean, I have said it before, I`ll say it again. I have to believe that they honestly thought that they were doing the right thing based on the law and the evidence as they looked at it. I just have that faith in people.

I`m sure it was difficult for them, because I`m sure that many of them may have felt that she did it, but, you know, there`s that reasonable doubt standard. And they apparently didn`t feel it rose to that level. And you`ve got to respect that.

PINSKY: Well, it`s interesting in her comment. She`s clear to say that she doesn`t believe she was innocent, which is really everybody -- I think even the Anthonys` position. If you saw the family`s statement, they don`t defend her innocence. They navigate around that very carefully.

ASHTON: Right. Yes.

There`s a lot of tiptoeing around that issue. But, you know, you just -- I can understand it would be difficult for them. You know, for someone who maybe thought she was guilty, but didn`t feel it rose to that level to do that.

PINSKY: Coming up, America`s obsession with the Casey Anthony trial. Jeff Ashton shares his thoughts on why we just can`t get enough. If Casey Anthony had taken the stand, would it have been a game-changer? Jeff Ashton tells us exactly what he might have asked Casey.



PINSKY (voice-over): Casey Anthony, acquitted of murder, but so many questions remain. How did this happen? What if Casey had taken the stand? What if the jury had been different? Do George and Cindy know more than they have revealed? I`m talking to the man whose job it is to ask those questions, prosecuting attorney, Jeff Ashton.

Also, will Casey walk free tomorrow?

And what is next for the Anthonys? All that and more in my exclusive interview.

CASEY ANTHONY, CAYLEE`S MOTHER: I`m sorry for what I did. I take complete and full responsibility for my actions.

You don`t understand how I feel. Every day, I have to sit here and wait and wonder.

Can someone let me -- come on. My entire life has been taken from me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will say this about Casey. Everybody has painted out her to be a monster. She`s not. She`s a person.


PINSKY (on-camera): She`s a person with some monstrous behaviors and some explaining to do. Tonight, a shocking verdict. More with my exclusive guest, Casey Anthony prosecutor, Jeff Ashton in just a second here. Now, if Casey Anthony had taken the stand, would things have played out differently?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it your decision not to testify based upon consultation with your counsel?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand that your decision to testify or not testify is solely your decision and your decision alone?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it is your decision not to testify?



PINSKY: Would the jury have seen Casey get wrapped up in her own web of lies? Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She spins tales, which I didn`t know at the time were tales, but all these crazy stories about all this stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to be the point where you stop all the lies and you stop all the fibs and you tell us exactly what`s going on?

CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S MOTHER: We need to have something to go on.

CASEY ANTHONY: Mom, I don`t have anything. I`m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know and you know that everything you told me is a lie, correct?

CASEY ANTHONY: Not everything that I told you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a bit of useful information has been provided by Ms. Anthony as to the whereabouts of her daughter. I would point out that the truth and Ms. Anthony are strangers.


PINSKY: God, the lies are so entertaining. I mean, I just -- is everything a lie? Well, not everything is a lie. Jeff, did you think that your team would get a chance to cross-examine her?

JEFF ASHTON, PROSECUTOR, CASEY ANTHONY TRIAL: When -- pardon me. At the time the opening statement was done, we assumed so, because it would seem based on that opening that she would have testified. As the case wore on, though, I began to think that she wouldn`t testify, though, Linda and Frank both still thought she would.

As we got closer to the end, it was sort of obvious that she was not going to testify. And, you know, understandably why, because I don`t know that she would have helped herself had she testified.

PINSKY: If she had, do you think the jury might have been influenced to vote differently?

ASHTON: If what I`m understanding from those few hints we`ve gotten from the jury, probably not, because it sounds like their decision was based simply on the state`s case. And I don`t know if she would have said anything that would have changed that. It would have been interesting, though. Linda was going to do the cross-examination, and she`s really good, and it would have been an interesting four or five hours of trial drama.

PINSKY: Now, Jeff, Casey`s team wanted her declared mentally incompetent. What was that about? Do you think that she wanted to take the stand?

ASHTON: Well, those proceedings were sealed by the court, and they haven`t been unseal yet, so I can`t really talk about that at this point.

PINSKY: That would have been interesting. Just for my viewers, I speculated all the time about what is going on with her from a mental health standpoint and wonder why more that kind of data wasn`t collected on her, but it was, and it`s sealed.

ASHTON: Right. Exactly. At this point, it`s sealed.

PINSKY: Earlier today, I interviewed Tracy McLaughlin. She`s an associate of Leonard Padilla, you know, the bounty hunter.

ASHTON: Oh, yes.

PINSKY: And she stayed in the Anthony home with Casey when Casey was out on bail in 2008. Listen as she describes Casey`s demeanor before Caylee`s body had been found.


TRACY MCLAUGHLIN, STAYED IN ANTHONY HOME: When Robin and I were driving her, and she said, oh, I know what Jose and I could do. We could go on "the Howard Stern Show." We could get some information out about Caylee, and then, she laughs and says, no, he`d want to know what my bra size was and if Jose was hitting it. Everything (ph) was just funny to her. Everything was funny.


PINSKY: It`s bizarre and chilling when you hear these stories in retrospect.

ASHTON: It is.

PINSKY: It`s just awful. Now, Tracy also said that Casey talked to her about chloroform when she was there. And that Casey never seemed upset about Caylee during those nine days that Tracy stayed with her. Do you make anything of that?

ASHTON: It just is more of the same, more of the Casey that we saw in the jail tapes, that we saw in the 31 days, you know, just more of the same. Just acting in a way that, you know, did not fit the profile of a mother that had lost a child.

PINSKY: Now, we all in the public and in the press certainly have got all this information about this -- let`s call it unsavory behavior --


PINSKY: Problematic behavior. Do you think the jury really got that picture? Were they able to see that kind of data as well?

ASHTON: Well, we did everything we could to make sure they did. If they didn`t see it, it was because they didn`t feel it was important. I mean, we certainly gave them weeks of testimony, going through everything that Casey did from June 16th to July 15th. And then, of course, you know, hours and hours at the jail tapes after that. So, you know, they got as much information as they could about her behavior.

And, you know, I credit the defense with doing a good job in trying to make it look like mental illness without saying so, because they couldn`t. There is no mental health defense asserted. So, they really couldn`t argue that, but, you know, he did a nice job of making it sound like that. And I don`t know what influence that had on the jury, but that was good.

PINSKY: That did intrigue me. It`s funny the way you articulate that, because he admitted this person is not a wonderful person and is a severe liar.

ASHTON: Right.

PINSKY: Let`s concede that. He conceded that territory up front. And then, he did build a case about the behavior of the cover-up being associated with, right, something like mental illness. Now, certainly, nothing I would diagnose.


PINSKY: But it`s interesting.

ASHTON: Well, that was part of the purpose of the initial closing argument that I did was to show that these imaginary people were created for a reason. You know, each creation had a purpose, and each new wrinkle to the lie obtained something for her. So, to kind of show the jury that this wasn`t a fantasy, this was a calculated attempt to, you know, accommodate new facts with new lies.

PINSKY: And it wasn`t just random lying. It was lying --

ASHTON: Yes, exactly.

PINSKY: Premeditated lying with purpose.

ASHTON: For a purpose, yes. For gain.

PINSKY: Interesting. Now, in September 2008, Jesse Grund, Casey`s ex-fiance, told police that Casey and Cindy were framing him for Caylee`s murder. Now, you won`t believe the shocking details he shared with me. That`s tomorrow night. Watch this.


JESSE GRUND, CASEY ANTHONY`S EX-FIANCE: This wasn`t just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. This was intentional. This was personal about going after me. For three years, this has been going on, and this has had nothing to do with just seeing who we could implicate in this. This was about personally going after me. This was about individuals responsible for this frame job, as I like to call it, going after me and my family, trying to discredit us, trying to destroy us.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very dysfunctional family.

JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This child, at eight years old, learned to lie immediately. The apple doesn`t fall very far from the tree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have a romantic relationship with her?

GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S FATHER: No, sir. No. To me, that`s -- that`s very funny.

LEE ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S BROTHER: I will never forget the promise that I made to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These secrets, these family secrets, still remain locked.


PINSKY: Welcome back. I`m here live with Jeff Ashton, prosecutor in the Casey Anthony murder trial, and we are just hours away from her sentencing, and we still can`t believe the `not guilty` verdict that the jury delivered just yesterday. Jose Baez claimed that this was an accidental death, that Caylee drowned in the swimming pool and that George Anthony helped cover it up.

He also alleged that George molested Casey from a young age. Did not, however, present one piece of evidence to back up these claims. Take a look at George Anthony defending himself against them.


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



PINSKY: Jeff, we`re interested today in this disconnect between what the jury seemed to have seen and what the court of public opinion believes. Do you think that having George and Cindy on the stand helped things or hurt things?

ASHTON: Well, I think it helped in the sense of, you know, they had additional evidence for the jury that could have helped them. I did think it was important for the jury to see George, especially based on the opening statement. I think it probably helped the public understand George and Cindy a little bit better, because there were times early in the case when they were, I think, unjustifiably reviled by a lot of people.

And I think maybe it allowed them to be seen a little bit more clearly, though not perfect, but more clearly. But, yes, it helped. You know, Cindy Anthony had something for everyone. Something for both sides. So, it was an interesting mixed bag.

PINSKY: Yes, indeed. She kind of pulled a fast one on you, I guess. And Lee kind of did too, didn`t he?

ASHTON: Lee was the biggest surprise.

PINSKY: Tell me why.

ASHTON: Lee had always before that been cooperative, not necessarily, you know, enthusiastic about giving testimony that might convict his sister, but he`d always been very cooperative. But when he took the stand, he was just completely -- he had to be -- his recollection refreshed on virtually everything, which, you know, -- and then he took the stand for the defense and gave -- said things he`d never said before and twisted them in such a way that he had not in the past. So, he was the biggest surprise of all the Anthonys.

PINSKY: I`ve got to say, I had a very funny feeling watching him on the stand when he was sobbing and crying. I mean, I have seen a lot of brother-sister relationships. And again, I`m just trying to understand these things.


PINSKY: And, you know, so his sister didn`t tell him she was pregnant. Most brothers would be like, I can`t believe you. You know, are you kidding me? As opposed to, oh, woe is me. Did that trouble you? It bothered me.

ASHTON: Yes. In deposition when he talked about the same facts, it was exactly that attitude. It was like, you know, it wasn`t that big of a deal. You know, that was their issue, not mine, and he was very matter of fact about it. And then on the stand, he had the waterworks started to flow, which, you know, I found a little difficult to buy. But, you know --

PINSKY: I thought it disingenuine (ph). I really did. Not just difficult -- all my spidey sense went off. It really did. And it made me suspect about everything he was doing. And then, he kind of turned on you. It was very peculiar.

ASHTON: It was. He was the most peculiar one of all of them. Very, very surprising that he just had a complete 180 in attitude, and we kind of had a clue that when he wouldn`t meet with us before trial to kind of prep like most witnesses do. So, we kind of figured he might do something, but that surprised us, I think.

PINSKY: Well, speaking of surprises and doing something, Cindy did a little something, something. She took the stand and said --

ASHTON: Oh, yes.

PINSKY: And said -- you know, by the way, I looked up "chlorophyll" on Google. Have you done that?


PINSKY: It prompts you immediately to chloroform.

ASHTON: Really?

PINSKY: It absolutely does. So, you know, it -- I`m just saying, but it seemed to be untrue. Take a look at this tape first.


CINDY ANTHONY: And I started looking up "chloroform" -- I mean, "chlorophyll," and then that prompted me to look up "chloroform."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you home on March 17th of 2008 between 1:43 and 1:55 p.m.?

CINDY ANTHONY: If those computer entries were made, then I made them.


PINSKY: Well, given that the evidence suggests that she was being less than truthful?


PINSKY: And even though I`m saying that the chlorophyll prompts chloroform, maybe she just did her homework on that one. I don`t know. Is she at risk for being accused of perjury?

ASHTON: She could be. That -- that decision, if it is to be made, would be made within our office, but not by Linda or Frank or myself. You know, you don`t have the person who is invested in the case make that decision. And if it`s to be made, it would be made by some neutral person in another division in the office.

You know, it`s a question of whether it`s -- whether the state is -- whether it`s really justified, not just in the facts, but based on, you know, the circumstances. So, I don`t know what they`ll decide in that.

PINSKY: I would think the state would want to put this whole thing to rest. I`m not sure --

ASHTON: Could be. Could be.

PINSKY: Now, an alternate juror, his name is Russell Huekler believes that the jury got it right. Listen to this.


RUSSELL HUEKLER, ALTERNATE JUROR: I agree with them wholeheartedly. It was the right decision that was made. The prosecution didn`t meet their burden of proof. We had a lot of reasonable doubt there. It didn`t show us the evidence that, you know, was good enough for a conviction.


PINSKY: Jeff, what`s he talking about? What do you think?

ASHTON: Well, I assume he`s just going -- he`s talking about the cause of death issue. I think in other interviews, he`s said that. And, you know, my response to that is simply to say if the jurors didn`t see in the evidence and in the photograph of the remains what I saw, then, you know, I respect that. That was their job to make that decision, and that`s how they felt, that`s how they felt, but it doesn`t change how I felt.

PINSKY: I understand. A lot of conversation about the notion of reasonable doubt in the press, did they get proper instruction on what that meant?


PINSKY: Or did this particular jury hold too high a standard for reasonable doubt?

ASHTON: They got proper instructions the same instructions every juror gets, and every juror is free to interpret it as they interpret it. You know, who`s to say who`s right and who`s wrong. You know, I have my opinion, but, you know, that`s -- that`s why we have juries so that they can use their judgment and make their own decision.

PINSKY: Well, speaking of that, I do have 30 seconds for you to give me an answer to that question I asked the opening of the show was, is this system functioning properly or is this an indictment of our system?

ASHTON: No. This is the system functioning the way it`s supposed to function, but you don`t always get the result you think you should even when the system functions correctly. You know, juries are always -- I don`t know, what`s the -- I can`t use the word we normally use, but sort of a dice game, you know. You never know.

PINSKY: Roll of the dice. They`re capricious.

ASHTON: Sometimes.

PINSKY: Sometimes, they`re capricious which makes them capricious.

ASHTON: Yes. It`s just a matter of you never know how people are going to interpret things.

PINSKY: Our judicial system works most of the time. I think we`re all agreeing on that, but a jury decided that Casey Anthony was not guilty of murder. As a result, she may be out of jail by this time tomorrow.

Next, we`re going to look at the frenzy surrounding the trial. Back after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the dynamic of the household. I saw the way that she was treated by certain members of that household. And that just kind of indicated to me that over the years, she may have been torn down enough to not think very well of herself. I did not see that as a household that I would want to grow up in.




(CHANTING) get out of line! Get out of line!


PINSKY: And that was before the verdict. And then the verdict has taken all of that energy and converted it into a frenzy. And I would be remiss if I didn`t say tonight, Jeff, I think you agree with me on this, calm down, people. Calm down a little bit. Really the level of frenzy -- look on YouTube and see some of the videos that people are posting, you`ll realize that this is getting to a point of danger.

Vigilante justice is not OK. You don`t take the law into your own hands. This is the man that tried the case. He is telling you to just, yes, we`re outraged. Yes, we have all kinds of intense feelings, let`s calm down a little bit, but one thing that has truly fascinated me about the trial was, in fact, America`s fascination with the case.

Can we watch the running of the bulls again? I can watch it 100 times that you saw there. It never ceases to amaze me. I`m back live in New York with my special guest for this hour, Florida prosecutor, Jeff Ashton. Now, Jeff, were you aware of the day-to-day hysteria out there about this case?

ASHTON: Yes. We pretty much had to walk past it every day. Obviously, not the four o`clock in the morning stuff. We would hear about that on the news, but, you know, we -- every day, we walked by the line of people.

PINSKY: There it is right now.

ASHTON: Oh, that`s horrible. That`s insane.

PINSKY: Now, this thing has consumed your life for three years. And it`s ending with you retiring. And people holding up Ashton for president signs. How does that all feel?

ASHTON: It was -- you know, the support that Frank and Linda and I got from the community was fantastic. I mean, people were stopping us everywhere, you know, wanting to tell us how good a job we were doing and being supportive, and that was great. There were times when it, however, almost became like a sporting event, and those were the times when I almost wanted to say to people, you know, it`s not a sporting event.

You don`t root for a team. We`re here for a bigger purpose than that. So, sometimes, it went a little weird, honestly.

PINSKY: But that`s a great place to end this conversation, which is that it is our constitutional system. It is working.

ASHTON: Exactly.

PINSKY: There`s something bigger at work here.

ASHTON: Absolutely.

PINSKY: And everybody, please, if you`d like to give a shout out to get people to calm down.

ASHTON: Everybody just needs to turn the energy that they have into something positive. You know, if you want to do something to honor Caylee, then do something to help other children. You know, don`t try to turn it into rage. Turn it into something positive, because that`s -- that honors her. Anything other than that, dishonors her.

PINSKY: And let`s all remind ourselves there is a little -- beautiful little girl at the center of this story. It`s what has us all so affected.

ASHTON: Absolutely.

PINSKY: And a mother`s behavior that we all find completely unacceptable. Yes, we all find that unacceptable, but let`s love our children. Let`s do our job as parents. Let`s go out and help other kids. I agree, Jeff, it`s a great place to end this conversation. Thank you so much for joining us.

ASHTON: Thank you very much.

PINSKY: I really do appreciate it.

ASHTON: Thanks for having me.

PINSKY: Thanks all of you for watching. I will see you tomorrow when Casey Anthony could be a free woman. We`re going to have the latest on her sentencing and reactions to that. And Casey`s former fiance, he will be here. Don`t miss that explosive interview. See you.