Florida seeks to recoup $500,000 from Casey Anthony

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 02, 2011 3:53 PM
Florida seeks to recoup $500,000 from Casey Anthony

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - Florida authorities asked a judge on Friday to require Casey Anthony, the young mother acquitted of killing her toddler, to pay back more than $500,000 spent investigating the child's disappearance.

But attorneys for the 25-year-old Anthony, who is not at the hearing in Orlando, are questioning law enforcement's accounting of expenses.

Anthony was acquitted in July of killing her 2-year-old Caylee, whose disappearance in 2008 sparked a nationwide search. At the time, Casey Anthony falsely claimed her daughter had been kidnapped by a nanny.

The toddler's skeletal remains were later found in woods near the Anthony family's home. Anthony's defense team argued at trial that Caylee died in an accidental drowning in the family's backyard pool.

A jury found Anthony guilty of misdemeanor charges of lying to detectives during the investigation, and the state wants to recoup the costs of investigating the false kidnapping claim.

In court on Friday, defense attorney Cheney Mason challenged some of the invoices submitted to Judge Belvin Perry.

Mason pointed to a time sheet from an Orange County Sheriff's employee for 1,100 hours worked over one 15-day period, a mathematical impossibility that added $32,000 to the reimbursement claim.

The defense also is questioning whether claimed expenses relate to Anthony's lies or the larger murder investigation.

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

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)