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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Atty Baez Tried To Sneak Bracelet To Jailed Casey Anthony

January 30, 2009

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Eyewitness News learned Casey Anthony may have been slipped some contraband in the suit she wore to court for Friday's hearing. Jail officials told Eyewitness News they discovered a "Caylee" bracelet stashed in the clothes Jose Baez dropped off this week.

The Orange County jail guards found it inside Casey's clothing, which Jose Baez dropped off right at the visitation center. The jail said, because it's a rubber band and not a weapon, no harm, no foul.

When Casey Anthony walked into court Friday, she was wearing a gray business suit. Attorney Jose Baez dropped it off at the Orange County jail Wednesday. But Eyewitness News has learned Baez also wanted his client to wear a Caylee bracelet, so he put it in one of her socks.
That's considered contraband and jail guards confiscated it.

Jail spokesman Allen Moore said the bracelet had the inscription "Forever in our hearts Caylee Marie Anthony" on it. Moore said, technically, it is contraband but there is no evidence that there was any malicious intent to smuggle in the bracelet.

The jail considers the incident a closed routine matter and Baez will be notified that bracelets are not allowed. Moore said, if the item had been illegal or dangerous, the jail would have called law enforcement to investigate.

It's not the first time Baez has been the center of questionable behavior at the jail. In October, Eyewitness News reported Casey's attorney violated policy when he hugged her twice. Guards told Baez touching his client was not allowed.

The jail would not go on camera about the bracelet incident and Orange County Corrections Department Chief Michael Tidwell is aware of what happened. A spokesperson said Casey Anthony didn't even see the bracelet.


The case against Casey was back in court Friday and this time she was dressed to impress (images video). In past court appearances, Casey Anthony was dressed in a jail jumpsuit and wearing handcuffs. Friday, she came decked out in a dress suit and kept flashing smiles at her lawyers.

CASEY ARRIVES: See Images Raw Video
JAIL VISITATIONS: Casey Anthony Visitation Log

Casey Anthony has morphed from "Anything But Clothes" party girl, to the librarian look and now to the matronly. Friday, she wore an ill-fitted gray suit jacket, her hair curled into a matronly bun and there was no makeup covering the circles under her eyes or the jail pallor showing through in her complexion.

"What you saw today is Casey. I don't know what you mean by different. Maybe the clothing is different, but she's the same person and that's Casey," Baez said after the hearing (full interview). "I think you guys are paying so much attention to it, it really goes back to my objections. It's irrelevant about what she's wearing, what her nails look like, and it has nothing to do with her guilt or innocence."

But a body language expert was watching Casey closely, interpreting her outward appearance and what was underneath.

"Facial expressions were consistent, though, with sadness, with depression," body language expert Susan Constantine told Eyewitness News.

COURT HEARING: Images Raw Video
The defense did win the judge's help in getting onto the private property where Caylee's remains were found in December (read search scene motion), but it lost its attempt at getting prosecutors kicked off the case (read Baez motion to recuse).

The defense team had argued that a State Attorney's Office complaint to the Florida Bar, against Baez's public relations firm, disqualified the prosecutors.

"Why was it being filed? What was discussed? Was there any motivation?" questioned defense attorney Linda Kenney-Baden.

"If they are suggesting that a Bar complaint is embarrassing to Mr. Baez or time consuming or requires him to hire a lawyer or to take other action, that inures to him not to Miss Anthony," prosecutor Linda Drain argued.

Baez's public relations firm, Press Corps Media, had accused State Attorney Lawson Lamar of playing politics with the case by getting a murder indictment against Casey during his reelection bid (read Press Corps release). Circuit Judge Stan Strickland dismissed the defense's argument in minutes.

"These three aren't involved. I don't know that this affects us. And that's it for that," Judge Strickland said.

Friday afternoon, hours after the 35-minute hearing ended, Judge Stan Strickland denied Baez's motion (read judge's denial) that would force EquuSearch to hand over its records concerning its Caylee searches (read State's response to Baez EquuSearch motion).

An attorney for the search group, Mark NeJame, called the request a "fishing expedition" and told the judge he didn't have jurisdiction to issue a subpoena for the records because the search group was based in Texas, not Florida. None of the volunteer searchers were in the exact spot where Caylee's remains were found, NeJame said (NeJame interview after hearing).

In the judge's denial, he agreed with NeJame in stating that "this Court does not have jurisdiction."

Eyewitness News also learned it could be a year or more before the case even goes before a jury, but that may be more clear when a status hearing is held in February or March.
"I don't expect this to be ready for trial until later this year, hopefully," prosecutor Linda Drain said.

Cindy Anthony was in court Friday. Her attorney said she did not want to face the media scrutiny. But lately, the Anthonys' attorney has been backing away from insisting Casey is innocent, instead saying the Anthonys don't know and that a jury will determine that.


Lawyers also talked about a possible change of venue in Friday's court hearing. Jose Baez told Eyewitness News he'll make a formal request for it soon.

"I anticipate it being soon, because we feel our client is innocent and we want to have her day in court. She wants to have her day in court. I know that's hard for everyone to believe, but she is innocent," Baez said Friday after the hearing (watch Baez interview).

Prosecutors told the judge they believe it's too early to talk about a change of venue, because the trial is so far off.

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