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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
What Life Is Like Today for Casey Anthony; Arthur Threatens Carolinas; Hurricane Arthur; Lohan Sues
Aired July 3, 2014 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now live from Orlando to talk about the case that Casey Anthony went through and the life of Casey Anthony since the acquittal on that first degree murder charge is her attorney, Cheney Mason.
Mr. Mason, thanks for taking the time to join us.
J. CHENEY MASON, CASEY ANTHONY'S CRIMINAL ATTORNEY: Certainly.
BANFIELD: So you and I spoke at length almost daily I would say during the coverage of this case and I remember so well how close the entire defense team seemed to be to Casey Anthony at a time when she was arguably and even voted the most hated woman in America.
What did you know that we all didn't across the country that endeared you so much to Casey?
MASON: Well, we got to be with her and talk with her, you didn't. Liz and the rest of the team were conscious of her daily worries, her anxieties, her needs, her emotions and we were just constantly with her.
So getting to know her is getting to understand her and realize that she is a human being that does not deserve the criticism that she's received. She had a trial, she was acquitted, and there's still people that just won't accept that.
She's a very likable and personable individual if you have a chance to know her, and unfortunately, the world hasn't had a chance to know her. The world has learned what they think about her through the cameras and through media and people saying things.
BANFIELD: You could argue, Mr. Mason, that the world got to know her through a series of facts, and one of those very difficult facts to accommodate for were photographs of your client dancing and having the time of her life, it seemed, in bars at a time when at trial we learned she knew her child was dead.
And we also knew she'd been spinning the canard that, instead, the child was missing, and I just wonder how you could reconcile that with the person you say was so kind and generous and fun and sweet, et cetera.
MASON: Well, Ashleigh, if you recall, at trial, we presented an expert witness to talk about grieving, the grieving process, how so many people do it so differently some people break down and have anxiety attacks and cry and go into deep depression and clinical depression.
Other people are unfazed or don't even accept, can't deal with the reality; it's not in their mind. And what you don't know, and something I have that revealed in the book, is that there were two members of the defense team that lost family members, died, during the trial, and you did not see reactions or emotions or impressions from those people because we had a job to do and you go on.
In Casey's circumstance, I call it "Casey world," she got into a point where the child is missing and not knowing how or where or why and couldn't accept it. You have to understand that by looking at the photographs of her and how close she was to that darling little girl and how they played and so absolutely inseparable. Then she was gone.
And if you remember when that expert testified --
BANFIELD: I do. I remember it well. I'll tell you something. I remember it so well that when I had a chance to interview some of the jurors I asked them specifically, "Wow, given your verdict, that expert on her grieving must have had quite an impact." And they said, "Oh, not at all. Not at all."
In fact, what they said was, "We just couldn't make that leap to murder because of some of the forensic evidence in the case."
So I almost, from them garnered -- again, from the jurors who made the decision, I garnered that they had a very difficult chasm to jump over simply because perhaps the prosecutors had overreached, gone too far, said it was a first-degree, evil, horrible murder and then were seeking the death penalty.
But I'm more curious about today and how she's doing. Arguably you are very close to her. You've remained very close.
Who is she? Has she changed? Is she getting out ever? Does she ever see people or boyfriends or anything like that?
MASON: Ashleigh, I'll answer that, but first I want to respond to what you said. The jury got it right because there was no evidence to support convicting her. It's very clear they didn't do that.
It wasn't because of sympathy by any means. The evidence wasn't there. They did an honorable job.
Now, answering your second part, Casey is a person who still is effectively in prison bays. There's so many people who refuse to accept the truth of the verdict or our constitutional system that want to hate her.
BANFIELD: What does she do every day? MASON: Well, she gets up in the morning like the rest of us and fixes
breakfast, and she does clerical work for our company and legal research and work, stuff like that. She exercises and --
BANFIELD: Does she live alone, or does she live with anyone?
MASON: Well, she does not live alone. There's always somebody around.
BANFIELD: And what about just personal relationships? This was a young woman who loved being out in the bar scene and had lots of boyfriends. Has she dated anyone since the verdict?
MASON: No, she obviously can't do that. This young woman enjoyed being out and has had to come with the reality dealing with the fact that her daughter is dead, not coming back.
And she's gotten through the shock of that and understanding it and dealing more and more with reality of what did and did not happen she's going to be there for a long time. Casey, as a person, is complex.
BANFIELD: Wow, you hit the nail on the head.
Is she ever going to tell her story, Cheney Mason? She's been deluged with requests for interviews. The she ever going to give one?
MASON: She may. Now is not the time. When the bankruptcy proceedings are all over, and the people that are chasing her for no good reason are done, and it's all dismissed, and she's completely free from the legal system, she may very well consider interviews.
Right now she doesn't want to because she knows she can't control it. If there ever is an interview, it will be one that's recorded.
BANFIELD: Can I ask you one last question -- so not a live interview, a recorded one.
Can I ask you one last question about Caylee? So often that adorable little girl is sort of forgotten in all the machinations of the litigation, et cetera, and the outrage and the anger.
And, you know, this little victim is a very core, important part of this story, if not the most important part of the story.
Does Casey have her photographs up in wherever it is she's living? Does she speak of Caylee often to you?
MASON: Casey has photographs and she has her memories. She has not forgotten, gotten over or ever will forget the loss of her child, no matter what the haters want to think.
BANFIELD: I want to just remind everyone of new book coming out, "Justice in America." I know you have very strident opinions about not only the justice but the media covering it. I remember you speaking very passionately about that then and I'm sure the book has a lot of that passion in it as well. Good to see you again, sir, I thank you very much for talking to us today and I hope you can convey this message to your client, former client if she's not watching right now, that we'd love the opportunity to ask her the questions and have her tell her story herself.
MASON: I'll do it. Thank you.
BANFIELD: Nice to see you again.
MASON: OK. Bye, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Bye, Cheney.
We have another big story we're watching for you today, the lead story today, the tracking of Hurricane Arthur. The storm is moving up the East Coast threatening the holiday weekend for so many people on the coast and parts of the Carolinas are already feeling its effects.
We're going to check out where that storm is headed next and if you are in the direct line. That's next.
BANFIELD: We are keeping a very close eye on some very dangerous weather in the name of Hurricane Arthur, which is expected to become a Cat 2, a Category 2 storm, by the time it passes over or near North Carolina, the coast of that state, and that's expected sometime tonight.
The focus right now, though, is getting people out of harm's way before that landfall, so that's why there's a mandatory evacuation order for Hatteras Island in North Carolina and a voluntary one for Ocracoke Island. I hope I'm saying that right, Ocracoke Island.
Forecasters expect a storm surge of as much as five feet along the Outer Banks coupled with some large, destructive waves. By the way, storm surge means the water's got to go back out and it rips out. It rips out in the way of a rip current. So there's -- there is Old Glory and looking like it's standing at attention at this point because of the wind.
So the governor of North Carolina has said, don't something stupid. Don't go wading into the ocean during the hurricane. You risk not only your own life, which is dumb enough, but you risk the lives of emergency rescuers, and that's really bad.
Driving this weather -- driving in this weather is also not being recommended, despite the fact you're being told to evacuate. It's now, now, not during the weather.
Most of the coast is due to get three to five inches of rain with seven inches possible in some spots, according to the National Weather Service, but I want to bring in the experts. If you don't believe me, meteorologist Indra Petersons is in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, and then to check in with Alina Machado in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Our cameras are trained there as well. So, Indra, I want to start with you. Just give me the track, and let me know how things are looking at this hour and how they're going to look for the next nine.
INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, things just to get windier and windier out here. One of the things I want to stress right away, because this just came through, is that we do now have a tornado warning. I know we're talking about hurricanes, but we do have a tornado warning just seven miles east of Southport, North Carolina.
This confuses a lot of people. You have these winds that go over the water. It doesn't have as much friction as when those winds hit the land. And that actually allows these tornadoes to spawn up. That is the concern in addition as we go through today.
Let's talk about that track. We're still talking about the center of Arthur well to the south of where I am here in the outer banks. But it is expected now to strengthen to a category two hurricane in the latest update that came out. That's expected to come in overnight tonight in through tomorrow morning.
Then it's expected to continue to strengthen to about 105 miles per hour as it continues to make its way just south of Norfolk, Virginia. It gets picked up in the jet stream pretty quickly though, so you're going to see this guy cruise all the way past towards the northeast. So but by Friday night, the farthest western portion of this track could have it intersect the Cape. So we're going to be watching that closely as well.
And then, by Saturday, it gets those cooler waters. They'll be kind of dissipating as to a lull out towards Halifax. So a lot to be considering. You're talking about heavy rain, storm surge, rainfall can be as high as about even seven inches, especially offshore, closer to shore maybe more like three to five. Storm surge three to five feet. High tide similar thing. We're going to have to kind of factor that in as well.
And then we talk about these waves. Currently we're already seeing 20, 25 foot waves closer to the center. That is headed in our direction. Fifteen to 20-foot waves could be headed our way. And you know what, here's the problem. Look at all these beach goers right now. No one is listening to these warnings. I know it is the Fourth of July but rip currents, this bring about 100 deaths a year. They're here before, during, and after the storm and there's nothing I can say right now to get these people to get out of the water.
BANFIELD: Well, can you make -- get your camera person to just - to pan a little bit left, Indra, just so that we can see those beach -- holy cow. Like Indra said, the rip currents -
PETERSONS: I mean it's literally everyone.
BANFIELD: And like you said, it's not just during the worst part of the storm, it is before, which is now, and then during and after where that storm surge has to egress.
BANFIELD: And it does it in these big streams that are like rushing rivers that you can't really see. You can't really see them, either. Isn't that the real critical issue here? It looks like gentle water and the rips are underneath?
PETERSONS: You can't even see them. This happens in seconds. I've actually spoken to people here that are typically surfers in these waters and they say they've actually been only about knee high and literally been ripped right out to sea very quickly. They were fearing for their lives. And I look at all these small children lining the shoreline right now trying to tell their parents, say anything. But, again, I know they think it's the Fourth of July. It's all about priorities.
BANFIELD: Yes. Well, the storms don't know the date, that's for sure. Indra, stand by, if you will.
I want to go to Alina Machado, who's in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. While Indra has the sunny location, Alina has the lousy spot right now.
Just give us a comparison, your shot to Indra's and what you're experiencing.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting because Indra says that there's a lot of people out on the beach there. Look at the beach here. It is practically empty. And that's a really good thing because earlier today, before we got that first strong band of wind and rain, there were a lot of people out here. Many of them were actually in the water. There were several surfers out there and that's exactly what officials didn't want to happen.
Once that first band came through and people saw just how strong the rain and the wind can be, people left and this is what we've had. And this is really good. This is good news here in North Carolina.
The bottom line is that officials here are still very worried about those rip currents and they're hoping that people will heed the warnings and stay out of the water and also just stay home while this storm passes through.
BANFIELD: All right. Well, be careful yourself. Keep us up to date.
Alina Machado and Indra Petersons, thank you both for doing the weather detail for us, especially since they're not getting a holiday weekend either. Thanks, ladies.
So actress Lindsay Lohan makes the LEGAL VIEW because she's now saying that her image has been stolen. Take a peek. On the left the real Ms. Lohan. On the right, the character she says is based on her in the video game "Grand Theft Auto" and she is not one bit pleased about it. She says she's had her image ripped off and I got the legal documents to prove it. Lohan hits the courts yet again. This time she is suing. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BANFIELD: Lindsay Lohan has filed a lawsuit against the makers of the video game "Grand Theft Auto V." The actress is claiming that Rock Star Games and its parent company modeled the character of Lacey Jonas after Lindsay Lohan and did so without Lohan's permission. We've got some court documents in our hands. Just got them a few moments ago. They allege that Rock Star copied everything from Lindsay's hair style, to her voice, even her one-time residence at the hotel Chateau Marmont, where she used to spend a lot of time and also live for a while.
Lindsay Lohan's signature is at the bottom of the court document, of the complaint. CNN has not yet received a response from the game maker, however the model hired to bring the character to life responded to Lohan's claims. That model's name is Shelby Welender (ph) and she posted, quote, "just because the game has illegal drugs and all the worst west coast stereotypes does not mean you're in it, Lindsay Lohan." That's interesting. Best so far.
I want to bring in our legal panel on this. Sunny Hostin is back with me now, along with HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson.
We kind of have this mission that we --
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: That was mean, by the way.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That was really mean.
BANFIELD: I know.
JACKSON: That was so bad.
HOSTIN: What's wrong with people? Well, keyboard courage. That's what I call it.
BANFIELD: Well, it's mean girls -
HOSTIN: It's keyboard courage.
BANFIELD: Mean girls.
HOSTIN: People that text and tweet things that they wouldn't say to your face.
BANFIELD: I know.
JACKSON: Just because we're talking about illegal drugs and stereotypes, it wasn't you. Sorry.
BANFIELD: Anyway - you know, Nischelle Turner calls them Twitter thugs.
HOSTIN: Yes. Yes. Keyboard courage. BANFIELD: I like Twitter - yes, the Twitter thugs. We - I get plenty of those.
So typically we don't do Lindsay Lohan stories on this show because they're just so obnoxious.
BANFIELD: But in this particular case, this is the second time this young woman has had to go to court to say to people, stop. Just stop stealing everything about me for your personal gain.
BANFIELD: This is a legitimate right that we have as Americans. If someone steals something from you --
HOSTIN: And makes money off of it.
BANFIELD: And makes money off it, you're in the wrong. Even if you're Lindsay Lohan, who's been in the wrong a lot -
BANFIELD: She has some merit here, doesn't she?
HOSTIN: She has some merit but I don't think it will carry the day.
HOSTIN: And I don't know if Joey agrees with me. Because the First Amendment does have certain carve outs. And so if you take someone's likement (ph) and you kind of change it and you tweak it and you transform it - it's called sort of the transformative rule, right, Joey -- then you are allowed to use that likeness. It's almost like a parody. And so even though they may be making money off of it, they've changed her name, they sort of changed her likeness just enough in my view that I think she may lose this one.
JACKSON: Don't go before Judge Hostin on this one or you're done. Listen --
BANFIELD: All right, what's the -- what's the barometer on this?
JACKSON: All right.
BANFIELD: How far do you have to depart from reality -
BANFIELD: In order to come up with this and not face a lawsuit from that?
JACKSON: It comes down to image and likeness. HOSTIN: Yes.
JACKSON: And this is how it goes. This statute, right, this law that protect this. So this is what she has to show. Number one, that they are referencing her, right? Number two, that they're using it for commercial purposes. And, number three, Ashleigh, that it was not with her consent. And so while, yes, there's been some tweaking as, of course, Sunny points out, I think ultimately if she could establish that it's so close to her image, so close to her likeness that, indeed, it's her, (INAUDIBLE) what, she's getting money.
HOSTIN: It has to be - it has to - it has to be really, really close. If they transform it - you know, that's what the case is saying. If it's transformative - I don't know.
BANFIELD: So this could also be -
JACKSON: Could it create confusion? That's what the other case law says.
BANFIELD: So, look at this.
JACKSON: And would people really believe that it's her?
BANFIELD: Look closely at this for a second because, sure, the bikinis match.
BANFIELD: They're both holding cell phones. But who doesn't hold a cell phone today.
BANFIELD: And the one on the right could really be a sexy Betty from the Archie comics if you wanted to really glam her up.
HOSTIN: It doesn't really look like her.
BANFIELD: Yes. So that's what I mean, when you get to be cartoonesque, is it the references? And maybe something like this, because Lindsay Lohan, in her complaint, is alleging that the defendants, that the Rock Star Games and the, you know, the creators of the character announced Lindsay's name in the media and named this character a Lindsay Lohan look alike side mission before the release of the game.
JACKSON: Is that enough tweaking, Sunny, what do you think?
HOSTIN: I may need to retract my statement. You know -
BANFIELD: They actually brought up her name in the media.
HOSTIN: You know, the fact that they brought up her name certainly doesn't help the company.
BANFIELD: Right. HOSTIN: But when I look at it and I look at the case law, I think it could be transformative enough that she's not going to get any cash.
JACKSON: Here's what I think. Listen. A billion dollars -- you remember this, Sunny? Within three days this "Grand Theft Auto" was released -
HOSTIN: Oh, yes.
JACKSON: And it made a billion dollars. How much money do they have?
HOSTIN: You think - you think they should give her a little bit?
JACKSON: I think they'll settle for a little something. I mean, come on, this is Lindsay Lohan.
BANFIELD: So -
HOSTIN: We can agree on that.
BANFIELD: She's also saying that there have been a lot of people in the general public who have reached out to her, Lindsay, believing that the character was her and she says that's creating consumer confusion in the marketplace.
JACKSON: That's right.
BANFIELD: She's a brand. Not matter how you --
HOSTIN: That's her strongest argument.
BANFIELD: Yes. No matter what kind of brand you want to call her -
BANFIELD: Bad brand, good brand, crazy brand, she's a brand.
HOSTIN: She is.
BANFIELD: And if there's confusion in the marketplace because someone is milking the brand, it's a problem.
JACKSON: That's right and that's the counter to Sunny's very adept argument regarding the First Amendment because, of course, First Amendment controls and all the rest of it.
JACKSON: But you have to do it within reason.
JACKSON: And, come on, Ashleigh, we know the deal. Who is that person? Who is this behind us here? We know that's Lindsay Lohan. HOSTIN: Maybe they will cut her a check. Maybe they will cut her a
JACKSON: Even if it's a small one it's big.
BANFIELD: We all remember -- there you go. Because in March of 2010 she went up against another organization (ph). She went up against E- Trade saying that this milk-a-holic Lindsay was a rip-off of her character. She didn't prevail. Ultimately it was settled. We don't know the terms but settled usually mean -
JACKSON: She got a little bit of money.
HOSTIN: A little - a little money.
BANFIELD: Hey, thank you all. If I don't see you tomorrow, and I hope I do because I've got to work and I hope you'll join me.
HOSTIN: I'll be here.
BANFIELD: Just extending the invitation. Sunny, Joey, happy Fourth. Thank you.
JACKSON: And you. Thanks so much.
BANFIELD: And thank you all for watching as well. It's been nice to have you with us. If you're not going to watch tomorrow -- and I highly don't recommend that -- have yourself a great Fourth. Otherwise I'll see you tomorrow. And "Wolf" starts right after this break.