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Volunteer search group wants Casey Anthony to answer questions under oath

By Anthony Colarossi and Bianca Prieto, The Orlando Sentinel –

ORLANDO, Fla. — The question of whether Casey Anthony will be compelled to fully answer some or all questions in connection with the two lawsuits filed against her remains unanswered.

Circuit Judge Lisa T. Munyon heard arguments Monday from an attorney from the volunteer search group Texas EquuSearch suing Anthony as well as the young woman’s civil attorney.

But she has not ruled yet on whether 25-year-old Anthony will be made to answer any questions, under oath, regarding the whereabouts of her daughter Caylee Marie Anthony back in the summer of 2008.

Munyon indicated she may request additional information on this issue in a special, closed-door hearing that would not be public, or she may issue an overall order regarding the deposition issue.

Texas EquuSearch is suing Anthony and wants her to answer questions on the record about what she knew about her daughter’s 2008 disappearance. The group wants reimbursement for $110,000 spent on searches conducted in September and November that year.

EquuSearch’s efforts to get information from Anthony are very similar to those of Zenaida Gonzalez, who is suing her for defamation. Lawyers for both plaintiffs want Anthony to answer questions, and not be allowed to invoke her Fifth Amendment right.

But Anthony’s lawyer Charles Greene argues that as long as Anthony appeals her four convictions for lying to law enforcement, she keeps her constitutional privilege and protection from self-incrimination.

Greene has asked for the private hearing with the judge to further make his argument. Outside court Monday, he said the other side’s question about who Caylee’s biological father is, is “designed for harassment” and no other productive purpose in the case.
Greene also denied that he or another civil attorney working on the Anthony case were shopping around her story for a large payout.

“She’s not trying to sell her story,” Greene said. “She’s not out there trying to sell anything.”

Greene’s statements came several days after reports that Los Angeles-based Scott Sternberg Productions has been pitching an interview with Anthony for $500,000 to $750,000.

Meanwhile, Texas EquuSearch attorney Marc Wites said the “unfortunate reality of this case” is that Anthony will profit from her story with a book, a movie, photos or video. He said the purpose of the group’s suit is to get at the truth and recover money for the group.

TES volunteers spent several days in 2008 searching for Anthony’s missing 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie. Anthony claimed the girl was kidnapped by a nanny named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez. The nanny was determined to be fictitious.

During Anthony’s criminal trial earlier this year, her criminal defense attorney Jose Baez said Caylee died in a drowning in the family pool. He made those and other bombshell revelations during his opening statement, but much of the statement was not supported by evidence or testimony brought out at trial.

“He made those statements in a criminal trial and we’d like confirmation from Casey Anthony that they’re true,” said Wites. He likened the situation to the O.J. Simpson case. Simpson did not testify at his criminal trial, but he was made to testify in the related, civil case.

“We expect the same thing to happen here,” said Wites, whose firm is handling the case free of charge for Texas EquuSearch.

If the Baez statements are true, it would confirm Anthony lied to EquuSearch’s Tim Miller and many others; Wites said. “I think it goes a long way to proving our case and the Gonzalez case as well.”

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