The Casey Anthony trial is winding down. The evidence is in, all that is left to do before the jury starts deliberating are closing arguments. That is scheduled to happen Sunday morning.

The prosecutions job is a seemingly easy one. All they have to do is tweak their opening comments and they are done. Although much of the case against Casey Anthony is circumstantial, it has been presented in a logical and methodical manner.

They have proved to be very nimble in anticipating and  avoiding any defense ambushes.The entire prosecution team were exactly that, a team. Each had a job to do, and they did it! I had heard of Jeff Ashton prior to this case,but this was the first time I had seen him in action. This guy is so well prepared and so sharp that he can go toe to toe with some of the countries finest scientific ‘experts’ and win. In fact if you analyze what happened you discover that half the time he was able to turn a Defense Expert into a Prosecution Expert.

Jeff Ashton is a gentleman that one day I would enjoy talking to. He does however have one failing, a fiery temper. This weakness was exploited on a number of occasions by Jose Baez and to a lesser degree Cheney Mason. But in my opinion they did not use that secret weapon in a strategic fashion. Rather than goading Jeff Ashton into taking a wrong turn, the jury heard material that would otherwise have been deemed inadmissible.

Judge Perry would step in, and admonish both Ashton and Baez, but the harm had been done. That Genie was out of the bottle. I am sure that the Jury picked up on these golden nuggets.

Lead prosecutor Linda Drain Burdick was equally lethal. Her style was the very antithesis of the Ashton freight train, she preferred to play the part of the Black Widow spider. With a monotone voice, almost reflecting boredom with the whole event, the victim was lured into her spiders web. The death blow was quick and efficient. As I am sure her closing statement will be.

Now, lets take a look at the defense. Closing statements represent a real problem for them. There is very little from their opening statement that can be recycled. Opening and closing statements in a legal context are very different animals. An opening statement has no evedentury value. The attorney is free to claim that ‘pigs can fly’, or that his client has mastered ‘Cold Fusion’ in her bathroom. Closing statements are a different deal. The attorney must only speak about the evidence presented.

This is a problem for the defense team. Casey Anthony faces a total of seven charges, They really fall into two groups, the first is merely serious, and the second potentially deadly.

The defense has offered no evidence to refute the serious charges of telling lies to the police. in fact the Prosecution played a masterful stroke by placing Casey Anthony vicariously on the stand by playing the recorded interview made by Yuri Melich at Universal Studios. So there is little wriggle room for the defense to talk about this in closing.

Moving on to the ‘big three’ charges, the Defense is also stuck behind the eight ball.

The accidental drowning gig is up! The pool ladder, open back gate theory was debunked through the phone records. Did Cindy tell a lie?

Cindy Anthony falling on the sword with the computer searches is also off the table. There is no doubt that Cindy Anthony was indeed at work, rather than goofing off searching for Chloroform or Neck Breaking.

The sexual abuse allegations are also off the table. Jose Baez tried to bring them into evidence, but failed.

That leaves the ‘Morally Corrupt’ meter reader Roy Kronk. Once again Jose Baez managed to get exactly nowhere with his theory that Mr Kronk somehow stole the body and hid it for months.

In simple terms, the Defense have very little to discuss in closing. I imagine that the focus will be on the ‘science’, however, that has without doubt been a very problematic evidential area, and I find it hard to believe that he can make any mud balls stick to the wall at this late stage.

Of course it is not over till the ‘fat lady sings’. But try as I might, I cannot see any light at the end of this tunnel.

The bigger question is if the death penalty will be recommended. I vacillate on that one. It is impossible for us trial watchers to put ourselves in the shoes of the Jury. The jury has only seen a subset of the information. It is unknown if they picked up on many or any of the minefields that both Jose Baez and Cheney Mason seemed bound and determined to stomp around in. Quite frankly I had my fingers in my ears, I was waiting for the KABOOM. Time and time again Judge Perry intervened, gently explaining to Baez the problems with opening doors.

So we are back to the basic question. What can Jose Baez tell the jury in the morning?

Is it possible that he might pull the ‘Dallas’ defense? OK, I should explain that one. The ‘Dallas’ defense has never worked in a court of law (at least to the best of my knowledge). It was an 80’s TV series that started off as being a huge hit. Who shot JR was a question on everyones lips. The problem was that later Dallas ratings tanked. Bad plot lines, bad everything. The show was in tatters. The solution was to explain the entire season of disasters as ‘just a dream’. Viewers had not been watching the real story, rather they had merely been watching one mans recollections of a dream.

It was a curious and also desperate attempt to rescue the TV series.

Could Jose Baez pull the Dallas move? Could he tell the jury that this was all just a dream?

Sure, I am joking, but it might be his best option. The ‘If the shorts don’t fit you must acquit’ is not going to work. And the ‘liar liar pants on fire’ line will result in several cases of spontaneous combustion in the court room. So where can he go?

Join us on the radio.

Simon Barrett

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