Attorney doubted Casey Anthony’s mental health

Posted June 26, 2012, at 7:55 p.m.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida mother who was acquitted last year of murdering her 2-year-old daughter had mental health issues that contributed to her habitual lying, the lead attorney in her criminal case says in a new book.

In “Presumed Guilty, Casey Anthony: The Inside Story,” Jose Baez said detectives should have realized Casey Anthony had built a “fantasy world,” and her lies weren’t evidence of guilt but signs of someone with “serious mental health issues.”

The book is scheduled to be released July 3. The Associated Press purchased a copy Tuesday.

Anthony is serving probation for an unrelated charged at an undisclosed location in Florida and couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Describing how Anthony led detectives on a wild goose chase, even taking them to Universal Studios where she falsely claimed she had a job, Baez writes, detectives “should have stopped and realized, ‘Wait a minute, we’re not dealing with someone who is playing with a full deck.’”

Anthony originally told detectives that her daughter, Caylee, was taken by a babysitter in June 2008, and that she didn’t report her missing for more than a month because she was searching for the toddler on her own. During Anthony’s trial last year, Baez argued that the little girl accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool and that Anthony panicked and hid the body because of the traumatic effects of being sexually abused by her father.

George Anthony denied the defense’s allegations that he abused Casey and helped her cover up Caylee’s death.

Prosecutors had contended that Anthony suffocated Caylee with duct tape because she wanted to be free to hit the nightclubs and spend time with her boyfriend. Jurors acquitted Anthony of first-degree murder but convicted her of four misdemeanor counts of lying to investigators.

Baez repeats the allegations of sexual abuse in greater detail in the book, saying it contributed to Anthony’s mental health issues. Mark Lippman, an attorney for George Anthony, refused to comment on the book Tuesday because he hadn’t read it.

Baez takes aim at the reporters who covered the case, detectives who investigated it, “groupies” who attached themselves to it and the case’s original judge who Baez says filed a complaint against him with the Florida Bar. The complaint was later dropped.

The three-year case took an emotional toll on Baez, according to his book. He suffered depression after the complaint was filed against him and he found it difficult to find joy in his wife’s pregnancy.

Baez also criticizes the way he was portrayed in the media as an inexperienced attorney taking on one of the highest-profile criminal cases in recent memory.

“The public may have been convinced that I was an idiot but I let it all roll off my back,” he writes

Hillel Italie in New York contributed to this report.

 

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