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Judge releases controversial footage in Casey Anthony case

September 30, 2011 |  4:39 pm


A judge on Friday ordered the release of a video that authorities say captures Casey Anthony's initial response to learning that law enforcement officials had discovered human remains while searching for her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

The video shows Anthony rocking a bit in her chair, and then hunching over. Later, Anthony is seen talking to her attorney.

The quality of the video -- taken in a waiting area near the jail's medical facility -- is poor. It's grainy. It does not contain audio. And it's shot from so far away that it's difficult to detect any facial reactions. Anthony can be seen breathing heavily at one point, and she bends forward several times.

Her reactions could be interpreted in various ways, and a previous judge had ordered the video sealed, saying it might be inflammatory, affecting her chance of getting a fair trial.

Anthony has steadfastly denied killing her 2-year-old daughter, who went missing in 2009. And a jury agreed.

In a verdict that outraged many people, Anthony was acquitted in July of killing the girl. She initially had told authorities that the girl had been kidnapped in July 2009, but she waited weeks before reporting her missing. As a result, media reports and commentators raised questions about her story almost from the beginning.

At trial, her defense attorneys said the child drowned, and that the death was covered up. Caylee's remains were found in the woods in December 2009.

The video footage was not captured by chance. Law enforcement officials were monitoring Anthony at the time in a bid to capture a telling reaction. Anthony's defense attorneys were outraged by the move, calling it "torture," and had tried to keep the video from being released to the media. They said it was  inflammatory and would violate her privacy.

Orange County Superior Court Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. issued his ruling today, in response to Orlando TV station WKMG's request to make the footage available. The judge said there was no reason to keep it sealed.

"The reason for sealing [the video] -- Ms. Anthony's right to a fair trial -- is no longer applicable because the trial has been completed and she has been acquitted of all charges other than lying to law enforcement officers," Perry wrote in his decision, according to CNN.

Anthony was recently ordered to pay at least $97,000 to law enforcement officials to help defray the costs of the investigation into Caylee's disappearance.


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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch