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Friday, January 09, 2009

Defamation lawyers can question Casey Anthony in writing, judge decides

Sarah Lundy Sentinel Staff Writer
January 9, 2009

A videotaped deposition of Casey Anthony won't happen in the near future, but lawyers representing Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez in a defamation case against Anthony can pose their questions in writing.
Orange Circuit Court Judge Jose R. Rodriguez came up with the compromise Thursday in an effort to balance Fernandez-Gonzalez's civil-court efforts to clear her name and Anthony's rights in the criminal process.
Anthony, 22, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter Caylee Marie. The toddler's remains were found Dec. 11 a short walk from the Hopespring Drive home she shared with her mother and grandparents. In July, Anthony told investigators that a month earlier she had left the toddler with a baby sitter named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, and when she returned later that day both were gone.

Authorities tracked down and questioned 37-year-old Fernandez-Gonzalez, who told them she didn't know Anthony or her child.
Fernandez-Gonzalez's attorneys wanted to ask Anthony questions in a deposition Monday at the Orange County Jail. But Anthony's legal team moved to stop the meeting, saying she would assert her Fifth Amendment right to refuse questions under oath. They feared her answers in the civil case could be used against her in her criminal case.
Keith Mitnik, one of Fernandez-Gonzalez's attorneys, said he was pleased with the judge's decision. He plans to have the written questions ready by the end of the week. The judge ruled that Anthony has 30 days to answer. The first questions will be: Is his client the Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez whom Anthony described to authorities? And what did she tell them?

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