Casey Anthony was back in court this morning, today’s hearing was on the subject of money. The defence team seam to be of the belief that because they have blown through the stash of money that they acquired to defend Casey the state should start picking up the tab!

It was to say the least an interesting adventure. I have always admired Judge Strickland for his patience with this case. I do believe that there are occasions where he could cheerfully lock up the entire defense team, and today was most certainly one of those occasions.

Jose Baez took today as an opportunity to introduce his latest ‘pro bono’ lawyer J. Cheney Mason. Mason has the likability of a two week old dead skunk. Words like ignorant, rude, insolent, barely scratch the surface when describing this guy. Of course you get what you pay for. And all of these fine folks are working ‘pro bono’, the last time I looked up the term in means that they are working for free. Free means no money changes hands, right?

Well apparently that is not quite the situation. What was revealed today, and confirmed, is that the defence team actually had a war chest of $275,000. But now the piggy bank is empty. There has been much speculation about the source of the ‘War Chest’ and that was revealed today, well almost. The hearing got off to a bad start, mostly due to Mr. Personality himself, Cheney Mason and went south from there.

Barely a few minutes into the hearing the defence team asked for an opportunity to confer in private. Judge Strickland granted them the courtesy. What happened next was beyond something that Hollywood would even dream up. Mason invites firstly Andrea Lyon and then Jose Baez to effectively become witnesses in a friendly examination.

Lyon admitted that she has received $22,500 for expenses, and paying for investigators and experts. She also admitted that 14 of her students are involved in the case, and it is part of their ‘class work’. That by itself speaks volumes. This is clearly trading grades for assistance. In fact she admitted as much in court!

Baez admitted to having received $89,000 in compensation to date. Then went on to plead ‘poor’.

The entertainment factor came from the fact that both Lyon and Baez made the fundamental error of putting themselves in a situation that the prosecution could land a few wonderful legal punches. By pulling teeth they now have in public record where the $275,000 came from.

$200,000 came from ABC, there is little new in that, it was reported a long time ago that ABC had paid this amount for use of family pictures. They do not pay for interviews, but they do pay for using pictures. Strange that the same pictures were used by many other news organizations who paid $zero, but I guess that is the name of the game. $5000 came from a ‘donor’, make of that what you will. $70,000 came from a fellow ‘dream team’ member (I watched the events live, but I missed his name, and no one seems to be publishing it).  The bottom line though is Baez can account for way less than 50% of the money spent.

It is often hard to gauge Judge Strickland, but I am pretty sure that he will get to the bottom of the story. Baez is once again asking that his revelations need to be ‘in camera’.

All in all, today was a disaster for Baez. I am sure that right about now he is curled up in a ball sucking his thumb and wondering what to do next.

What Baez thought would be a ‘walk in the park’, Casey is in jail, she has no income, and no money, turned into a wonderful fishing expedition for the prosecution. While it did not offer any hard information on the fate of Caylee Anthony, it did manage to cast a huge cloud of doubt about Baez and his competency.

Simon Barrett

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