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Trial disclosure shows what ABC News spends money on

March 19, 2010 | 12:03 pm

As network news divisions continue to make cuts in their production and reporting ranks from around the globe, one can't help but wonder what they will spend money on.

One answer to that question emerged Friday. In the trial of Casey Anthony, a Florida woman accused of murdering her daughter Caylee, defense attorneys said ABC News had paid her family $200,000, which was used for her case.

In a statement, ABC News said, "In August 2008 we licensed exclusive rights to an extensive library of photos and home video for use by our broadcasts, platforms, affiliates and international partners. No use of the material was tied to any interview."

Uh huh.

This revelation follows one last month from the Orlando Sentinel that ABC News also put up members of the Anthony family for a few days at a Ritz-Carlton in Florida.

Last month, ABC announced it was laying off up to 20% of its staff and restructuring its news division operations. One could hope that it will also start to reconsider what it allocates its dwindling resources on. The money and time spent on a murder trial that, though tragic, hardly rises to the level of national news and could surely be put to better use elsewhere.

-- Joe Flint