Facing a debt of close to $800,000, Casey Anthony filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection Friday, as first reported by the Orlando Sentinel. Most of the $792,000 debt is owed to her defense attorney José Baez, who in July 2011 successfully had her acquitted of charges of murdering daughter Caylee, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter.
"This is the next step towards closure for me," Anthony, 26, told a Phoenix TV station late Friday.
In addition to the money owed to her legal team, Anthony is also facing three civil lawsuits related to the disappearance of her daughter in 2008.
Two defamation lawsuits have been filed by individuals who say they have been besmirched because of the 2011 trial against Anthony.
Anthony’s original claim was that Caylee’s babysitter, Zenaida Gonzalez, dubbed “Zanny the nanny,” had kidnapped her daughter. Anthony then said she fabricated that story, fictionalized the nanny, and that Caylee had actually drowned in the family pool. A Kissimmee woman with the same name is now suing for defamation, as is Ray Kronk, the former meter reader who discovered the body. In an attempt to deflect the murder charge against Anthony, her defense team painted Kronk as one of the possible killers.
Matt Morgan, the attorney representing Gonzalez, sees the bankruptcy filing as an attempt to delay the lawsuit and pledged to fight it.
"This most recent filing appears to be yet another calculated delay tactic. We are not deterred and will stay the course," Morgan said Saturday.
The third lawsuit was filed by Texas EquuSearch, a search and rescue group that says it spent more than $100,000 searching for a Caylee, who was in fact never abducted nor missing.
According to the petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, Anthony stated she only has $1,084 to her name.
According to Anthony’s bankruptcy petition, the remaining debts are as follows:
•$145,660.21 owed to the Orange County Sheriff's Office
•$68,540 in IRS debt
•$61,505 owed to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
•$10,283.90 to the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation