Return to Transcripts main page


Where Will Casey Go?

Aired July 7, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



BELVIN PERRY, JUDGE: Just as the jury spoke loud and clear on counts 1, 2 and 3, they also spoke loud and clear as to the remaining counts 4, 5, 6, and 7.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think this is -- this is ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her release date has been calculated as July 13, 2011.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you kidding me? No, you`re kidding me, right?



JOSE BAEZ, CASEY`S ATTORNEY: Casey did not murder Caylee. It`s that simple.

PERRY: Not guilty of the crime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think there`s anything they can do. Killers walk free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just a crying shame, an absolute crying shame. They called this justice? They say the American flag flies today? It does not. It does anything but fly today. It`s been trampled on today

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice for Caylee! Justice for Caylee! Justice for Caylee!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice for Caylee! Justice for Caylee! Justice for Caylee!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice for Caylee! Justice for Caylee! Justice for Caylee!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The realities are that now she`s been exonerated by a jury in a court of law, and it is a really good feeling.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live from right outside the Casey Anthony courthouse in Orlando, Florida.

It is raining and storming behind me. Now, I just heard something that absolutely gave me pause. There was thunder and there was a lightning strike that hit a tree at little Caylee`s memorial site, the very spot where her remains were found, on this, the day that we learned that her mother is going to be freed on Wednesday. I just heard that a moment ago, and I thought I would share that with you.

Well, we`ve got so much breaking news for you, and it`s all jaw- dropping. OK. Casey Anthony, she is going to walk free on Wednesday. Six days from now, she is a free woman.

First thing this morning, the judge sentenced Casey to four years in prison for the four lies she told the cops, but after doing the math and giving her credit for time served, are you sitting down? It all boiled down to six days. So that`s why she`s leaving on Wednesday.

Now, I want you to check out this chilling statistic. I just told you about the thunder and the lightning strike on the tree at Caylee`s memorial. Today Casey was given credit for exactly 1,043 days in jail, and little Caylee spend 1,042 days on this earth before dying. What are the chances?

Today take a look at this. Casey Anthony came out smiling, kind of like she was coming out for a bow or perhaps headed to a rock concert. She seemed like a totally different person to me. She glided into court. Her hair is flowing. It`s down. No prim, frilly blouses, that whole librarian look, totally gone. This is a look she never unveiled once during the trial.

You see her there. She`s smiling, she`s confident, she`s casual, and it was not lost on her mom, Cindy, who was in court. Listen to what two of our HLN producers that were sitting right near Cindy and George told me they overheard. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Casey actually walked in, and we were just shocked at the way -- the first thing Cindy says to George is, "Oh, my gosh. She looks so beautiful. Look at her hair, look at her hair."

And George says, "Yes, it looks like it got longer," but just so loving, and not any tension at all from what -- you know, what we anticipated seeing or hearing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Meantime, on the heels of the shocking verdict, we`ve got news of Casey release in, as I mentioned, just six days. And it has sparked outrage.

Today, I put a whole lot of time with protesters at court who are seeking justice for little Caylee. Listen to what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anytime she comes out is too soon. This is not justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have the red marker here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God is not going to do for us what we can do for ourselves. We`re supposed to be responsible people.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people very upset. The crowd seething with anger. That very anger is giving Casey`s lawyers reason to worry about Casey`s safety. Listen to what Jose Baez told Barbara Walters on ABC.


BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Are you worried about her safety?

BAEZ: I am. I am. And I`m afraid for her, and I don`t think it`s fair.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And as for Jose Baez, we have another stunning breaking news development to tell you about. Jose has signed with a legendary TV super agent. As of now, that agent says he is handling only the slew of media requests coming in for Jose Baez, but let`s be real. Could something big be brewing there? I`m just asking.

Perhaps the most shocking and ironic twist of all, an eerie foreshadowing of what Casey might have in mind for her future. Check this out, from one of her infamous jailhouse letters. I just want to read you what she said, Casey Anthony. Quote, "I had a dream not too long ago that I was pregnant. I thought about adopting, which even sounds weird to me, but there are so many children that deserve to be loved." Wow. OK. To me that`s kind of -- well, it`s very disturbing. All right.

I`m thrilled and honored to be joined tonight by prosecutor Jeff Ashton. He is my very special guest tonight, for two whole blocks. Jeff, I`ve got so many questions for you. First of all, thank you for joining us. I watched you in action, and hats off. I thought you did an excellent job, really. Hats off to all the lawyers. I was in awe of all of you.

First of all, your reaction to the possibility that Casey Anthony could become a mother again?

JEFF ASHTON, PROSECUTOR: That`s a little scary. Let`s hope that she has better judgment than that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, doubtful. Any other thoughts on that?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Juror No. 3, now she has come forward. She`s breaking her silence. She`s talking about the alleged murder weapons. Here`s why she says she didn`t buy it. And here she is on ABC`s "Nightline." Let`s listen to what she said.


JENNIFER FORD, JUROR NO. 3 IN CASEY ANTHONY TRIAL: It`s easier to get to the conclusion that it was an accident than it is to get to the conclusion that it had something to do with chloroform and duct tape for me. Because if it was chloroform, George said Casey left the house with Caylee. So were they in a public place when it happened, this whole chloroform thing? Was Caylee in her backseat, chloroformed and duct taped? Or did she in public put her in the trunk? I mean, I don`t know how to make that whole picture come together at all.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Jeff -- I hope I can call you Jeff.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That kind of bothered me. Because I seem to remember watching the prosecution that you showed that Casey`s cell phone things revealed that she was in that other on that crucial day and that George then went to the afternoon to work, so she had the opportunity to go back into her house. That juror doesn`t seem to remember that.

ASHTON: Yes, that`s true. I`m not quite sure what she`s referring to there. But yes, I mean, the evidence was clear that Casey had frequently returned to the house after her parents were at work. So I`m not quite sure what she listened to, to come to that conclusion.

I also don`t know what her thoughts were about why the duct tape was on the body to begin with. That one that`s always bothered me. Never really had a good answer for that. But perhaps in her opinion there was some other possibility.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff, let`s be real. They didn`t have time to go over the evidence. Less than 11 hours. The jury instructions were very complicated. They had to eat lunch. They didn`t go over the evidence in the jury room, Jeff.

ASHTON: Well, you know, I don`t like to second-guess jurors, because I wasn`t there. I wasn`t in the jury room. You know, people can draw their own conclusions. But having been an attorney for 30 years, you just have to accept sometimes that juries make decisions that you may not agree with. And that`s sort of what we`ve all had to do, is just accept it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, you`re a more generous person than I am.

ASHTON: It`s not always easy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Let`s talk about Jose Baez. Perhaps the most explosive moment in the trial came during his opening statement. Let`s review what we`ve all seen.


BAEZ: This child at 8-year-old learned to lie immediately. She could be 13 years old, have her father`s (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in her mouth, and then go to school and play with the other kids as if nothing ever happened. Nothing is wrong. That will help you understand why no one knew that her child was dead.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you see this coming, or was it a shock to you?

ASHTON: No, we knew that that`s the defense that was going to be proposed. And so we weren`t surprised by it being said. We were surprised by the defendant not testifying to support it in any way.

I assume that when he said it, he believed he would be able to prove it, and perhaps something changed, and he didn`t think that he could. I would certainly hope he didn`t say that, knowing that she was not going to testify, because that would be a serious ethical issue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Twenty-twenty hindsight is always easy, but looking back, is there anything that you wish you had done to counteract the molestation accusations, such as getting a summary witness who would go around and talk to counselors and various people and come back and say to the jury, "Nobody ever mentioned this"?

ASHTON: No, I mean, all we could do, really, was present the evidence that there was, which was George`s denial. Also, I always felt that his suicide letter was extremely persuasive, that that hadn`t happened. Because, you know, clearly at that point he`s -- he`s thinking of killing himself and making amends for things.

But I just can`t believe that had much to do with anything, since it wasn`t proving. I hope not, it wasn`t proving.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And one last quick point on that: Robin Adams, there was a jailhouse letter in which Casey reportedly said, "My brother touched my breast, but my dad might have done the same thing when I was younger"? Wouldn`t that outrank it? Why not bring that into evidence?

ASHTON: Well, the problem with that was that that letter would have offered some evidence of molestation. And as the case went on, not only was there no evidence against George, there was no evidence against anything. So to have offered that would have, in fact, supported some molestation while denying others. So we felt that that was not the way to go, rather just leave it unmentioned so the defense couldn`t argue it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, so many tough choices. Wouldn`t like to be in your position. Unbelievable.

Much more with Casey Anthony trial prosecutor Jeff Ashton, straight ahead. So much to ask him. Stay right there.


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.




BAEZ: Your stories of this Zanny the nanny. It`s true. For two years she pretended she had a job and pretended she had a nanny.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re delighted to be talking with Casey Anthony prosecutor Jeff Ashton, who has been very genteel in his comments, and we certainly wish you the best, Jeff. By the way, I know you`re retiring. Are you going to become a defense attorney and then represent murder suspects? Just curious.

ASHTON: Well, I`m not really sure what I`m going to do at this point. I`m taking some time off and spending time with my family. And then I`m going to figure out where I go from there.

I can`t see myself representing defendants in murder cases. I think that`s just a little too far outside of what I could do. But aside from that, who knows?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let`s talk a little bit about the two big whoppers, and that is that -- we just heard it -- Jose Baez said, in the opening statements, "Yes, she`s a pathological liar. Yes, there was no Zanny the nanny. Yes ,there was no kidnapping."

In a way, did you feel like the rug was pulled out from under you, because in essence, the prosecution proceeded to argue that she`s a pathological liar, that she said that there was a nanny that took the baby, and he had already admitted all of that was a lie. Did that kind of throw you?

ASHTON: No, it didn`t. I mean, we -- we always had presented the lies not just because she lies, but because the lies had a purpose. And I think that really -- that point was the one we tried to drive home with the jury, was that these weren`t the imaginings of someone with a mental disease. These were calculated lies that all had a purpose. I thought we made that point, so no, I don`t think it changed how we did things.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of the things that I was kind of itching. Sometimes I would watch and say, "Oh, I wish they would say this." I wish they would say that, during that 31 days, if you believe this, that she lied also because she was giving the body time to deteriorate, if that`s your belief. That never really seemed to come forward. Your thoughts on that?

ASHTON: Well, I never really credited Casey with that much forensic knowledge to have thought through that. I think Casey was basically out of sight, out of mind. You know, "She`s gone. I`ve gotten rid of her. I`m going to go on as long as I can." We talked about timer 55, that she created right after Caylee disappeared, which was the amount of days between June 16 and Caylee`s birthday.

So Casey knew from the beginning that she had a limited shelf life of her new life unless she came up with some other new lie, which we think she was preparing when everything broke loose.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, speaking of motive, in the closing arguments you really dove into Casey`s head and sort of put us in her shoes and her mindset. And let`s listen to some of that closing argument.


ASHTON: The only way Casey`s lies work is if Caylee wasn`t talking. Caylee`s 2 1/2, almost 3. She`s starting to become verbal. At some point Caylee is going to say something. Someone`s going to ask her about Zanny, and she`s going to say, "Who?" Someone will ask her, "Did you have a good time at Zanny`s?" And she`s going to say, "No, Tony."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. That was brilliant, to point out the child is getting older and becoming more verbal.

I have to say that I wish that had been made in opening arguments. Do you think looking back -- and again it`s so easy to be the Monday morning quarterback, if you had taken your closing argument and made it your opening statement, that there might have been a different outcome?

ASHTON: I kind of doubt that that one fact alone would have changed the overall outcome of the case. You know, it was something that actually occurred to Linda, you know, shortly before the closing arguments, when she was talking to me about it, and I thought it was a very good point to put in.

But I`m not sure -- from what I`ve understood, I just don`t think anything was going to change the jurors` minds in this case, that we could -- nothing that we could give them, you know, without manufacturing evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this. Well, you speak of manufacturing evidence. OK. There`s something in journalism called ambush journalism. Do you think that we`ve gotten to a new place in lawyering where it`s kind of ambush lawyering? Do you feel you were blindsided at all by Jose Baez`s opening statement?

ASHTON: No, not by the opening statement. I mean, he tried to ambush us on a number of occasions by not following the judge`s order in terms of the expert witnesses, and we addressed it on every occasion, so his attempts to ambush us really were never effective, because the judge, you know, was able to enforce the rules. And we`ll see, in fact, if he follows through on his statement that he might hold him in contempt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hmm. Wow. Well, I just want to say, Jeff, thank you so much for coming on, and come back soon. We`re going to be here for a while.

ASHTON: My pleasure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More shock waves in the Casey case.



BAEZ: Well, the answer is actually relatively simple: she never was missing. Caylee Anthony died on June 16, 2008, when she drowned in her family`s swimming pool.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I just talked to prosecutor Jeff Ashton, and he said he really was not blindsided or ambushed by anything in Jose Baez`s opening statement. So I want to go to Judge Larry Seidlin, who was listening to the interview.

That means he was not ambushed by the molestation. He was not ambushed by the accidental pool drowning. The admission that Zanny didn`t exist. So then did he have an effective counter-punch for that?

SEIDLIN: He has to say he wasn`t surprised by all these defenses. Otherwise, what is he doing as a lawyer prosecuting a case? He has to say he anticipated all these things, otherwise he shouldn`t be at the big poker game. I want to know if he was responsible for the charging document. I want to know if he was responsible for what crimes should be charged against Casey.

SEIDLIN: Well, let me tell you something, judge Seidlin, I was polite to him just like I`m polite to you. You sang in court. You sang in court during the Anna Nicole Smith case. I have never mentioned that to you, because I`m polite.

All right. Stacey Horowitz, Florida prosecutor, what do you think that Jeff Ashton said, the fact that he said that none of what Jose Baez said in the opening statement shocked him or surprised him or caught him off-guard?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, I believe him. The fact of the matter is when you go into a case, you usually can anticipate just by virtues of the depositions and the discovery beforehand what the defense is going to be. So I`m surprised that Judge Seidlin would say that he has to say that. He`s not saying anything politically correct. This man went in and went to the grand jury. He didn`t decide what the charges were. He presented it to a grand jury, and they came back on those charges.

SEIDLIN: You guys run -- you guys run the grand jury.

HONOWITZ: He couldn`t have done anything different. He couldn`t have done anything any different.

SEIDLIN: You guys run the grand jury.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Wait a second. I don`t -- I don`t agree with Judge Seidlin, but I don`t agree with you either, Stacey. I think -- sorry.

SEIDLIN: That grand...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: : Judge -- I`m being polite.

SEIDLIN: You`re the chief judge.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think Mike Brooks, listen, I was polite to him, because I have total respect for the job he did. And who -- I mean, it was an outstanding, overwhelming task, but I think if you know that Jose Baez is going to say molestation and an accidental pool drowning and that there was no Zanny, there`s got to be a way to counteract that a little more effectively. What do you think, Mike?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I don`t know. We know that he probably already knew, because Mark Lippman said that the Anthonys also knew about six weeks prior to trial what was going to be said. So if they know, I`m sure that the prosecution knew.

But I mean, they could have countered that during that trial. But they didn`t. They stayed on message. They did what they thought they had to do, because the 31 days were so important, showing her web of lies, showing her lies at Universal, all the way through to when the body was found, Jane. I think they had this message, and I thought it was a good message. But the jury apparently didn`t think so.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If I had to do it all over again, I would have said, "Put the closing argument as the opening statement, and..."

HONOWITZ: You can`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: "... cut them off at the pass."

HONOWITZ: You can`t do that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can`t go to motive.

BROOKS: And again the opening is not evidence.



CROWD: Caylee. Caylee. Caylee. Caylee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re taking this so personal. It`s so personal to us, and they just let a baby killer out of jail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her release date has been calculated as July 13th, 2011.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is for Caylee. God is not going to fly down from heaven and do for us what we can do for ourselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is heartbreaking. A child is gone and no one is held accountable. It`s sad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s wrong she got away with it, and you know it. People are saying that it was ok. She didn`t get away with it. I can`t even talk. I`m appalled by this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that it`s about right, what she did, because she obviously didn`t murder --

JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: There are no winners in this case. Caylee has passed on far, far too soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any time she comes out is too soon for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her daughter died, and she plans to get out of jail and make a book, make a movie, make all kinds of money. It`s given her, her "bella vita" life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. What a monumental day. Hi, I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming at you from the courthouse in Orlando, Florida; a stormy day out there.

And I`ve got to just say, lightning struck a tree, we were just told, right at little Caylee`s memorial site where her remains were found. What are the chances on this day that we learn when Casey is going to be freed?

Look at that, yes, lightning hit a tree at the scene of the remains -- unbelievable.

All right.

Casey did not get out today. She was sent back to jail, but not for a very long time. She is going to be released on Wednesday, six days from now, and we`re all over it here at HLN.

This morning she may have thought she was getting sprung, because she came out with her hair flowing, and she was smiling at everybody, really look at her. She looks very happy, and almost like she`s at a party of some sort or headed to a rock concert. Yes. She may have thought she was getting out for the first time in three years.

So let me ask you this question: what is Casey going to do when she gets out? Where is she going to go? We`re taking your calls, 1-877-JVM- SAYS.

I am absolutely delighted, delighted to have with me Jean Casarez who got an exclusive interview with defense attorney Cheney Mason.

Jean Casarez, first of all congrats on your --



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody`s wondering when Casey gets out on Wednesday, six days from now, where the heck is she going to go? What do you know?

CASAREZ: Well, what do you know? That was the first question I had for him because we all want to know. I was really honest with him. I said, look, she`s not beloved in this country, she might be one of the most hated people, and are you concerned about her protection? Take a listen.


CASAREZ: There`s been speculation that she may go to your house.

CHENEY MASON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: Yes, well, let`s see. I don`t think that is really going to happen.

CASAREZ: If she came to you and said that she wanted to come to your house for a while, would you allow her?

MASON: Yes, I would. Shirley would. You know, for a short while, you know. Not very long, but I wouldn`t have any problem with it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So I found that kind of ironic. He`s like, yes, she can come to my house for a little while, ha-ha-ha-ha.

CASAREZ: Yes, but you know he took her under his wing. But he made it very clear to me early that he did not take this case on because of Casey Anthony. He took it on because of the unfairness that he felt Jose Baez was going through, and he took it on because of the constitutional rights that someone like a Casey Anthony is afforded.

So it`s interesting. It wasn`t because of her. It was because of things much bigger than her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s interesting because I have tremendous admiration for prosecutor Jeff Ashton, who we just talked to. I also have admiration for Jose Baez. He took a case that everybody said was a sure loser and he turned it into a winner. And you have to give him credit for that.

Jose, if you`re watching. I give you credit. I just want you to know.

All right. What else did Cheney Mason say in your inclusive interview?

CASAREZ: Well, you know, I asked every question in the book. I think we talked, Jane, almost two hours, so we`re trying to show a little bit as we`re editing this, a little bit of what he had to say to me. But I think everything I asked, I had a fascinating answer. I thought that. Take a listen to this.


MASON: She`s been through a lot. I know for some people they don`t care, but those of us who believe in the system, the jury has pronounced her not guilty of the offences. Think of what she`s lost: her child, her family, her freedom. She`s been in lockdown as serious as you can get.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Correct me if I`m wrong, but I thought somebody said that he told you she might have to get a facelift. Is there something?

CASAREZ: I said to him, where is he going to go? He said, "I don`t know where she`s going to go," because he said, "I think she`s going to need plastic surgery or a dye job on her hair for somebody not to recognize her. He doesn`t see one place in this country that she can virtually go to be unrecognized.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can`t tell you where she`s not going to be recognized.

CASAREZ: I have close friends in Eagle Pass, Texas. They all know about this case and they`re all following on the border of Mexico. So this is --


CASAREZ: I want to tell you, though, Jane, he told me that psychologists and psychiatrists from around the country are contacting him. They want to give her therapy to help her adjust.


CASAREZ: He said it`s amazing what`s coming in to their office.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Wow. You know what? I want to hear that from the horse`s -- I want to hear that from Cheney Mason himself. I think we have that clip. Let`s play that one.


CASAREZ: So how is she going to get that psychological help? The system isn`t going to do it.

MASON: You would be amazed at the outpouring of volunteers and people wanting to help her from all over the country that watched the trial. And I`m sure that there will be arrangements made for her to get counseling and the help that she needs.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So psychiatrists and psychologists are calling him, saying I want to make her better?

CASAREZ: I think that`s necessary, because look at her life before this happened.


CASAREZ: Somebody`s got to help her because she`s got to take a different path in life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but sometimes that doesn`t work if you don`t want to help yourself.

CASAREZ: And time will tell. Time will definitely tell.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That doesn`t work unless you want to help yourself and you have to acknowledge what you`ve done wrong.

CASAREA: And additionally she`s been in the cell 23 hours a day for three years; that in and of itself needs some psychological counseling.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I want to play the big, big moment from today. That was the moment that the judge -- we`re all waiting we`re thinking, my gosh she`s going to be released right now. It was when the judge -- the sentence was handed down today by Judge Belvin Perry. Let`s listen to his ruling.


JUDGE BELVIN PERRY, PRESIDED OVER CASEY ANTHONY TRIAL: I will sentence you to one year in the Orange County Jail, imposing a $1,000 fine on each count, all four counts to run consecutive to each other. I`m giving you credit for the time that you have previously served.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That was the big moment.

Wow, I was outside with the crowds at that time, and everybody`s like four years, right? And then by the time it got translated, it turned into six days. How did that happen, Stacey Honowitz?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, in every jurisdiction, you get good time and you get gain time. And so those of us that are in the business pretty much knew it would be turnaround time. That`s what it`s considered. She had over 1,000 days and over three years in. She gets a four year sentence. They give her credit for the time she`s already served. And she`s out.

I don`t know if she`s on probation. I don`t know if she got probation on the original check fraud charge. But bottom line is if she`s not on probation, she walks out the door and that`s the end of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, when she walks out the door -- Jean Casarez, I know there`s been a lot of discussion about this -- I actually asked prosecutor Jeff Ashton, is she on probation. And he said, I can`t tell you right now. I don`t know.

What`s your best guess? Because if she`s on probation, she just can`t leave the state and go anywhere she wants.

CASAREZ: Cheney Mason confirmed with me, she will not be on probation when she leaves jail. That once time is served was adjudicated with the check fraud charges. The one-year probation started right then, that clock ticking. It is over when she gets out, she is a free woman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, of course the big question we are all still asking is, how does this happen? How did we end up with a not guilty verdict on all the serious charges? Jose Baez says he thinks he thinks the prosecution overcharged. That basically they went too far. Here he is on -- well, I think this is ABC`s "Nightline"?


BAEZ: They have the power to charge anyone for any charge that they feel they can prove. So if they`re going to bring it, they better be able to prove it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Judge Larry Seidlin, do you think this case was overcharged? If they had taken the death penalty off the table, might we have had a different outcome?

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, PRESIDED OVER ANNA NICOLE SMITH CASE: Let no one be fooled. Politics enters every institution, and this state attorney has to run for state attorney every four years. He knew there was a hatred towards Casey, and he charged that -- originally she wasn`t Murder One. He built it up to Murder One.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When they found the body.

SEIDLIN: Yes, but he could have charged her with something that he could prove. A trial is a contest; a contest in this matter with some of the best attorneys in the country. And you have to make sure you could jump the hoops. They made it so hard for the prosecutor.

I want to know if Ashton was the one that went in front of the grand jury, because the prosecutor is there alone. It`s a solo act. There`s no defense attorney.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can just hear Stacey Honowitz jumping up and down wanting a chance to respond. You will get so on the other side of the break.

Despite the judge giving Casey Anthony the maximum, she is walking. She will be a free woman next Wednesday.



MASON: I hope that this is a lesson to those of you who have indulged in media assassination for three years, bias and prejudice.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, that was defense attorney Cheney Mason after the verdict attacking the media, but now his own behavior has come under scrutiny. Check this out.

This photo is of Cheney Mason on verdict day making an obscene gesture with his middle finger. We can`t show it to you without a blur but made this gesture through a window.

And this morning I was walking into court, and I witnessed and heard this exchange with my own two eyes and ears. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any bird fingers for the media today?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. There`s an alternative to that, Mr. Mason. "No comment". Yes, "no comment", you can say that.

Also, after the verdict, Cheney Mason lambasted lawyers for going on television. You heard him. We just played it a second ago. But he was guilty of the very same thing a few short years ago. Listen, here`s the proof, Exhibit A.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m disgusted by some of the lawyers that have done this. And I can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don`t know a damn thing about.

If you go before a grand jury, what do you tell them that you believe she`s guilty of? Is it manslaughter? She got mad and locked the kid in the trunk? Or was she killed brutally and thrown in there?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That last video was video of Cheney Mason in October of 2008, and yes, he was talking about the Casey Anthony case 17 months before he joined the defense team.

Mike Brooks, he was apparently being the talking head -- the very kind of talking head that he later attacked. Is he being a hypocrite?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Something about a trunk, being locked in the trunk? I didn`t hear a thing about an accident, Jane. I didn`t hear anything at all about an accident.

Let me tell you, I thought his behavior was totally unprofessional. There was no need. He knew that there were cameras out there. And maybe he was flipping the bird to someone who had been harassing him, he wasn`t happy with. But he still has to remember that he is a member of the bar, he is an officer of the court, and he is a professional.

Look, I have a lot of respect for Cheney Mason and the defense team. I think they did a good job, they won, yes. Jose Baez says there were no winners, but you couldn`t prove that at Terrace 390 after that when they had their champagne party until 10:00 p.m. that evening.

You know what? They could have taken it upstairs to Cheney Mason`s office there in that same building; to go up there and celebrate. But it was kind of in your face right there, whatever that may be.


BROOKS: But you know what I didn`t hear him mention after that? Anything about Caylee Anthony, the little girl who was dead, who was on Suburban Drive rotting at the time when he gave his interview in October of 2008. Didn`t hear anything about her; all he`s worried about is the media.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Now, joining me now, Steve Helling, who has become my friend because we sat next to each other in court during this trial, and Helling wrote the "Shocking Verdict" article in this week`s "People" magazine. Take a look at this cover. Tell us all about your article.

STEVE HELLING, STAFF WRITER, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Well, you know, this is one of those things that we sort of predicted that she might not be convicted of first degree. We didn`t expect that she was going to walk in six days. So when, of course, we put the story together, we just set the scene for the shocking outcome.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I know, because I sat next to you. You had a previous "People" magazine cover that said "Getting Away with Murder" question mark. And you even said we`re getting some heat for this because people are saying, what, getting away with murder? That was before the verdict came in.

Guess what? That was prophetic.

HELLING: You know, I did take a lot of heat for that. And when I was listening to the prosecution`s case, I thought to myself, you know, there are some gaps. There are some things that haven`t been answered, and that`s what made me think of writing the story that way, and I`m glad that we did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we`ve gotten word that Jose Baez has signed on with a top TV agent, and we`ve heard through the reps that this is only to handle media inquiries. You don`t sign though with a top TV agent who is well known in Hollywood to handle media requests at the courthouse.

HELLING: Well, this is William Morris. And I have dealt with William Morris`s agency so many times for Goldie Hawn and Jennifer Hudson.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I just want to keep the agency out of it because there`s a lot of confusion about which agency, and we can`t confirm that -- but your principle, your thought.

HELLING: What I would say is yes, obviously they`re going to -- they`re going to try and cash in, for lack of a better term. You know, they are well known right now. Casey is well known. Jose is well known.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Jose Baez called my producer and said I have not made a deal for Casey. This is just me. It has nothing to do with Casey Anthony. She is not involved in this. Just want to point that out.

We`ll analyze that on the other --



CROWD: Justice for Caylee. Justice for Caylee. Justice for Caylee. Justice for Caylee. Justice for Caylee.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Jose Baez, the defense attorney, has an agent now. We want to stress that it`s with the Paradigm Agency. These people jump around from place to place. Paradigm Agency is the place.

And listen, he`s making a point to say he`s not making any kind of deal for Casey. And nor does he have to. Let`s not assume -- I mean if Jose Baez writes a book on his own, that`s a book I would read.

And honestly, Judge Seidlin, I think it makes a lot of sense he would write a book. Why not? This has been the trial of the new century, the first social media trial. He is the defense attorney. He won the case. He should write a book.

SEIDLIN: And I think we would all read it. I think it would be a lesson on how to stand up strong in spite of the media saying she`s guilty, she`s getting Murder One. You`ve got talking heads on different media outlets who never even tried a criminal case telling you she`s going to get Murder One.

And I want to read his book. He had guts, he fought the whole system. He fought it. And I hope the public starts to understand that the evidence was not there to convict her. It doesn`t mean she`s a good woman. But the evidence wasn`t there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rhonda, Arizona, you`ve been so patient. Rhonda, your question or thought?

RHONDA, ARIZONA (via telephone): first of all, I couldn`t believe that she came out this morning trying to look like a Kardashian girl with her hair all -- I couldn`t stand it. I just couldn`t stand it. Getting ready for Hollywood.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, that`s a good way of describing it.

RHONDA: Getting ready for Hollywood. I was wondering, I don`t know if I heard this correctly, but I heard that when Casey was younger that she and her friends would bury pets off of, you know, whatever that street was, where the swamp was, and with stickers. And I never heard that come out in court.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, that`s a good point. Stacey Honowitz, Kiomarie Cruz said that`s where they used to bury their pets. They would wrap them in garbage and they would put heart-shaped stickers and bury them right there. Why didn`t we hear that? Why didn`t the prosecutor turn that in?


HONOWITZ: I don`t know when they -- I don`t know when they interviewed this person. I don`t know what they thought about this person. I don`t know what their strategy was. The one thing that I can tell you is I resent the fact that Judge Seidlin keeps making it out to be a political ordeal.

The grand jury had this evidence, and they returned an indictment. And the jurors in this case had a chance not to return on a capital murder, but they had lesser included offenses that they could have gone to. So just to say that they made the decision based on the fact that the state overcharged its case, there was evidence there to prove a premeditated murder, and the jury chose not to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you the question, Stacey that I asked Jeff Ashton who was too polite I think to say the obvious. They didn`t go over the evidence when they were deliberating, because one of the women who came out and said, well -- she listened to a bunch of things that they hadn`t proved, and they proved those very things. She was wrong. We were all in court. They did say that.

HONOWITZ: Listen, I`m just like everybody else, wondering, shocked and in disbelief as to what we saw why they returned the verdict they did. The fact of the matter is, my opinion is, that jurors have a difficult time with the concept of reasonable doubt. They seem to believe that it`s beyond all doubt, 100 percent.

If that was the case, they would be a witness on the case. You`re always going to have some doubt. Is it reasonable? They also wanted motive; something which the state doesn`t have to prove.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Stay with HLN; we`re counting down to next Wednesday when Casey Anthony is released. It`s an unbelievable --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, the juror who spoke out said that the prosecution never proved where Casey chloroformed her child, because they said that she left home that day with little Caylee. Well, guess what? I don`t think she was paying attention, because the prosecution revealed the cell phone pings that showed that Casey Anthony remained in that area the day the child vanished and that George went to work in the afternoon, and she had the opportunity to go home to her parents` house and do it.

Steve Helling, quickly, that juror.

HELLING: You know, I watched Juror Three throughout the trial and I never saw her take a note. Never.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I honestly don`t think the jurors did their homework. Under 11 hours, more than 360 pieces of evidence, and a jury instruction sheet this thick. You can`t do it all in under 11 hours. Ok? Something is wrong here -- to borrow a phrase.

Nancy Grace is up next.