Casey Anthony plans to stay silent in defamation lawsuit: lawyer

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 01, 2011 2:08 PM
Casey Anthony plans to stay silent in defamation lawsuit: lawyer

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - Casey Anthony, the Florida mother acquitted of killing her toddler, will refuse to answer questions during an upcoming deposition in a defamation case about lies to investigators, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Anthony, 25, is set to be deposed in October as part of a lawsuit filed by Zenaida Gonzalez, who claims her life was ruined when Anthony falsely told investigators in 2008 that her 2-year-old daughter Caylee was kidnapped by a babysitter with a similar name.

Caylee's remains were later found in woods near Anthony's family's home. At trial, her defense team said the child died in an accidental drowning in the family's backyard pool.

Anthony was acquitted in July of murdering Caylee but found guilty of four counts of lying to investigators trying to find what they thought was a missing child. Casey Anthony is appealing her convictions.

At a court hearing on Thursday, lawyer Charles Greene said Anthony "will assert the Fifth Amendment" at the deposition in the civil case, meaning she will invoke her constitutional right to remain silent.

Gonzalez's lawyer John Dill said he still wanted to proceed to find out which questions Anthony would refuse to answer and whether there might be grounds to challenge her silence.

Judge Lisa Munyon imposed a two-hour time limit for the deposition. She said Anthony could testify via video rather than face Gonzalez's lawyers in person.

Anthony is living in an undisclosed location while serving a year of probation for a 2010 check fraud case.

Her civil lawyer argued that the defamation claim will fail. Anthony told investigators Caylee had been kidnapped from the Sawgrass Apartments in Orlando by a woman named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, Greene said.

But the woman behind the lawsuit is named Zenaida Gonzalez, he said.

After the hearing, Dill, Gonzalez's lawyer, told Reuters that Anthony had embellished information that his client wrote on a visitor card filled out at the Sawgrass Apartments.

A tentative trial date for the civil case was set for April.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)