Casey Anthony will testify under oath whether she likes it or not, according to Radar News, in a report today Thursday, Sept 12. She walked out of a Florida courtroom a free woman after a jury failed to convict her of criminal charges in connection with the 2008 disappearance and death of her two-year old daughter, Caylee.
But a civil case is an entirely different creature than a crminal one. A defendant can take the fifth and refuse to testify in the criminal justice system. However, in a civil case, a defendant may be dragged screaming and kicking to the witness stand whether she likes it or not.
A civil case has been filed against the woman who HLN reporter Nancy Grace branded as "Tot Mom" throughout coverage of the jury trial which was covered from gavel to gavel in Orlando. And what is the basis for this lawsuit?
Casey Anthony allegedly told law enforcement officers that her daughter was kidnapped by a nanny named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez as an explanation for why her child disappeared. Investigators later determined no nanny by that name ever was connected to the dead child whose body was found under suspicious circumstances.
But there is a real Zenaida Gonzalez who was understandably irritated Ms. Anthony used her name as the kidnapper of her two-year old. And as a result of that irritation she filed a civil lawsuit for defamation against the infamous mother.
In the past Anthony told people she would invoked the fifth amendment and not testify once again. However, it appears she may be wrong in that legal opinion of hers.
Matt Morgan, Zenaida's attorney, said, "Casey Anthony will not be allowed to plead the fifth as her appeals have now been resolved."
Suddenly Anthony will be under the sort of pressure she's never faced before as she is scheduled in Tampa for October 9 to have her deposition taken....under oath. This will mark the first time since the tragic death of her two-year old that she will be required to answer questions under oath.
Caylee's remains were discoverd four months after she disappeared in August of 2008 from her home in Orlando. Her skeleton was found in the woods not far from her home.
Anthony was charged with homicide, but she was found not guilty on July 5, 2011 by a jury of her peers and released. She has spent much of her time in seclusion since the verdict which created a great deal of controversy in some quarters of the United States. Demonstrators outside the courtroom voiced their disappointment with the verdict and her attorney Jose Baez escaped with this client to an undisclosed destination.
The national news media then embarked upon a highly-publicized search for her whereabouts.
This is a case in which the rule of double jeopardy could play a major role. Even if she were to admit during the deposition that she killed her child she could not be prosecuted again in the criminal system. And even if a civil jury were to find her responsible for the death of her child, she couldn't be sent to prison.
Flashback to the O.J. Simpson case. A criminal jury found him not guilty before a civil jury found him repsonsbile.
Zenaida could collect a civil judgment for money damages if Anthony is found guilty of defaming her name.
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