Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Sordid Cast Of Characters Around Casey Anthony - NYTimes.com

A Sordid Cast Of Characters Around Casey Anthony - NYTimes.com

Evidence must outweigh emotion. And in the end there simply wasn’t enough lucid, specific proof that Anthony had murdered her little girl.

But as a mirror of people’s opportunism, avarice, hypocrisy and hysterics, the case was galling. In the Anthony trial a system that worked almost too well met a cast of characters almost too bad to be believed, and that’s true not merely, or even mainly, of the Anthonys. It applies just as much to the rogues’ gallery around them.

Take Cheney Mason, the avuncular defense lawyer with the Southern drawl and Santa beard. After the verdict, he decided to express his displeasure with reporters and spectators by giving them the finger.

That team was led by Jose Baez, an even less savory character. After graduating from law school in 1997, he couldn’t practice law for eight years because, as The Orlando Sentinel detailed in several articles about him, the Florida bar deemed him unfit. He was a deadbeat dad who, by 2004, owed $12,000 in child support. He also defaulted on a student loan and declared bankruptcy at one point.

And the jurors? How do they come out of it? On the one hand, they commendably wrestled with the distinction between a miserable person and a solid case, according to an interview one of them gave to ABC News. On the other, that juror accepted, as a thanks from the network, a trip to Disney World. Another juror hired an agent of sorts to canvass the networks for the most lucrative dish-for-dough arrangement.

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