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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Judge denies lawyer's motion to seal records

A judge refused this afternoon to block news agencies from receiving audio and video of Casey Anthony's phone conversations in the Orange County Jail.

Attorney Jose Baez filed the emergency motion yesterday to try to block his clients recorded calls and visits from being released to the media, stating that details from the recorded calls could "chill the public's willingness to report any leads" and compromise Casey Anthony's right to a fair trial, Baez wrote in a one-page motion filed Monday.

George Anthony testified during the hearing in front of Orange Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland, saying the conversations between himself, his wife and his daughter were "personal.""All of us want to know where this little girl is," George Anthony said of his 2-year-old granddaughter Caylee Marie Anthony, who was reported missing July 15.

He and Baez both said the recent media coverage has not painted anyone in the Anthony family in a favorable light."It's really bizarre the way things are going right now," George Anthony said of the coverage.

This morning, George and his wife, Cindy, arrived at the jail visitation center for their scheduled 45-minute video conference with daughter Casey Anthony but left early because she was "unavailable." The Anthonys checked in shortly before 9 a.m. and left around 9:15 a.m. in a black chauffeured car.

Jail officials said Anthony was unavailable because she was on her way to the Orange County Courthouse for her 1:30 p.m. hearing.

Jail spokesman Allen Moore said the parents were not told of Anthony's absence because the visitation center is updated as soon as the inmate reaches the courthouse.

She is allowed only three visits per week and met with her brother Lee Anthony yesterday morning. A friend is scheduled to visit with her at 7 p.m. this evening. Her parents rescheduled for tomorrow morning.Anthony, 22, remained in jail on child-neglect and other charges as the search for Caylee Marie continued.

Anthony told investigators that she left her daughter with a baby sitter named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, who investigators have been unable to find.Last week, Orange County jail officials released a 14-minute call Casey Anthony made hours after her arrest.

In it, she cursed at relatives and asked repeatedly for her boyfriend's phone number. Earlier, authorities released several 911 calls, including one in which Cindy Anthony said the car Casey Anthony used "smelled like there's been a dead body . . . .

"The lawyer filed his motion the same day jail officials released a 15-minute phone call Saturday between Casey Anthony and her older brother Lee.

Lee Anthony told his sister, "We're completely behind you," and reminded her that everything they say during phone calls from the jail is public record.

He asked his sister if she thinks Caylee is "OK right now."

"In my gut, she's still OK," Casey Anthony replied. "It still feels like she's, she's close to home. That's still my best feeling at the moment.

"Jose Baez is appealing her bail, which Strickland set at more than $500,000 last week. He is asking the 5th District Court of Appeal to direct the lower court to set a $10,000 bond.

The Florida Attorney General's Office, which handles appeals for state prosecutors, has not filed a response. That is due at noon Wednesday, an attorney general's spokeswoman said.

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