For many Americans, civil and criminal cases seem 180 degrees apart.Â But, the reality is that they are kissing cousins and tools to whipsaw parties when it suits lawyers, prosecutors and other special interest groups looking for free publicity, seeking to build a resume to run for public office and other third parties using the process to either advance a monetary goal or advertise their business.Â Such is the case of the civil matters generated by the disastrous Casey Anthony prosecution.
The dust has hardly settled and the prosecutor Jeff Ashton is now running for public office.Â It seems pretty nervy to run for public office after a poorly prepared and sometimes awkward defense counsel kicks your butt.Â Does America really need or want another loser voted into public office?
This weekâ€™s program will look at the various civil cases linked to the Casey Anthony trial that are currently meandering their way through the legal system. Each one has an interesting underlying story and each one is a good deal more complex than it may appear on the surface.Â
Texas Equusearch vs Casey Anthony:Â At face value, the Texas Equusearch case seems pretty clear cut. Tim Millers group is suing to recover the costs of the searching for Caylee Anthony. Â They allege that Casey Anthony knew full well that the child was dead, yet took no action to deter the search activity. Â
This is where it gets interesting. Â Although we will never know the true facts, few will doubt that Casey Anthony acted in a selfish, manipulative and unethical manner.Â But the lack of ethics or morality does not automatically equate to breaking the law.Â If it did, we all know millions of Americans who should be convicted of something they have done in the last month.Â We are no longer a nation built on ethics and morals.Â Our founders, George, Thomas and Ben, are probably turning over in their graves watching people like Casey Anthony obscure the landscape.
Â As I understand the case, it is a question of contractual rights between the parties, if there is one.Â It is not about who invited who to the dance?Â It is about whether Casey Anthony had a duty and obligation to tell them anything while exposed to a criminal indictment for homicide.Â Anyone who has ever watched Law and Order knows the answer to this one. Â Casey Anthony has a constitutional right to be silent.
An equally interesting question arises about the $100,000 that Equusearch claims to have spent searching for Caylee. The group is funded by donations.Â And, the Caylee Anthony story was front and center in the media which attracts all kinds of people with profit on their mind.Â Just look around at all the people who have financially benefited from Caseyâ€™s bizarre trial.
So the chances are that Equusearchâ€™s Â involvement represented an opportunity to toot their own horn and look for donations much like the Red Cross swooping down on a disaster to collect donations so they can take their exorbitant administrative fees off the top.Â Yes, the Red Cross is not always the wonderful charitable organization it claims to be.Â Â The question is how much money did Equusearch raise during the Casey Anthony case and how did they spend it?Â How much went to salaries, bonuses and personal expenses? And, did Equusearch really suffer any financial hardship or did they just make a lot of money?
Do not misunderstand me, I support charities but not with a blind eye.Â All of us would love to see Casey pay for her misdeeds, but letâ€™s be real about this.Â She has no money and what reason could Equusearch have for suing her other than the publicity generated by the lawsuit which hopefully will lead to more charitable contributions.Â If they get a judgment, Equusearch can get in line behind the IRS and the State of Florida to collect.
Zenaida Gonzalez:Â The Zenaida Gonzalez law suit is also an interesting one. It is hard to even decide where to start. Zenaida is seeking damages for defamation. She claims that Casey did irreparable harm to her character by implicating that she was involved with the abduction of Caylee Anthony. Â Â What does irreparable harm to a nanny mean?Â Could someone explain that to me?
The only â€˜realâ€™ link between Casey and Zanny is the fact that Zanny tried to rent an apartment at Sawgrass Apts. As far as I can tell it was a pure coincidence. Also the cops quickly dropped Zanny from the suspect list. It makes it hard to see where the irreparable damage is when everyone involved in the investigation and trial is shouting from the roof tops that Zanny had no part in the events!
This suit has garnered a great deal of media interest. While few people see much validity in it, it does open the door to some interesting discovery. Alas the judge in the case is not playing along. There will be no â€˜fishing expeditionsâ€™. And, we all know how lawyers like fishing expeditions.
So what does Zanny stand to gain? Well other than her 15 minutes of Andy Warhol fame, not very much other than bragging rights.Â One could argue that her lawyers benefit most by this case because they get to hold news conferences and promote themselves.Â Certainly, Zanny canâ€™t afford to pay them so what other reason could they have for filing this lawsuit.
Roy Kronk v. Casey Anthony:Â Next in the line of Casey suiters (excuse the pun) is Meter Reader Roy Kronk. He is also pursuing a defamation action. Â His claim is that Casey and her legal team implicated him in the murder to stir their defense pot in a stop at nothing defense of Casey.Â Neither Casey nor her legal team ever retracted their statements. Much like Zanny, one has to wonder about what Roy Kronk hopes to achieve.Â Certainly, he canâ€™t have any expectation of getting money out of the turnip known as Casey.Â
When he first hit the headlines as being that discoverer of Cayleeâ€™s body, he immediately came under the scrutiny of the press. It did not take long before a less than elegant biography emerged. So why is he moving forward with this suit?
Again, this smacks of attorneys looking for free advertisements by using press conferences to get their names in the paper.Â I am certain that it is a contingency fee case so Kronk has no reason not to go along with fee lawyers.
Richard Grund v National Enquirer:Â Â The most interesting suit in the works does not directly involve Casey Anthony personally. Â It is Richard Grund v National Enquirer. Â At issue is an expose by the Enquirer that suggested that Caylee Anthony died as a result of a satanic ritual performed by Richard Grund.Â It seems that someone watched Rosemaryâ€™s Baby too often.
The case itself appears to be a slam dunk, unless, of course, Grund is a warlock and you believe in warlocks. Â But, one has to consider the fact that the Enquirer has a very competent legal team who are long in the tooth at defamation law suits, even though they lose most of them.Â The Enquirer will stall, delay and use every trick in the book to wear down Grundâ€™s legal team and force a nominal settlement.Â This case will likely go on for so long, no one will care anymore when it is finally settled.
As these cases wind their way through our legal system, Casey Anthony will be dodging the IRSâ€™s efforts to collect back taxes on the $200,000 paid to her by ABC.Â Â However even this issue is more complex that it seems. There may be others held liable for the tax burden.Â We will give you the real truth about how the IRS really handles these cases and how Casey Anthony will likely avoid ever paying a dime to the IRS.
Join us Sunday at 1pm (pacific), 4pm (eastern) as we discuss the subject. It ainâ€™t pretty! And I think it is best summed up by a comment my wife Jan made:
I donâ€™t care about the law, that woman needs to be behind bars!
To listen in live to the program use this link. It wonâ€™t be boring!
Simon Barrett and Mannie Barling