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Hearing ends without decision on moving Casey Anthony’s civil trial

By Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel –

ORLANDO, Fla. — Casey Anthony’s attorneys on Tuesday made their case for moving her upcoming civil defamation trial out of Orlando, but a hearing on the issue ended without a ruling.

After a brief hearing, Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon said she’d issue a written ruling on the request later.

Anthony’s lawyer Charles Greene argued it’s an “impossibility, I submit, that Ms. Anthony can get a fair trial in Orange County.”

“We had hoped that the publicity in this case would subside after the criminal case,” he said. “It has not.”

He cited a weekend story in the Orlando Sentinel about the hearing as evidence media attention has not waned.

He also noted that Munyon isn’t the first judge asked to decide whether Central Florida is too jaded to judge Anthony fairly: The same issue came up before her murder trial.

Chief Judge Belvin Perry’s order, which relocated jury selection in the criminal case, was submitted by Anthony’s team in support of their motion.

Munyon noted that order “was entered almost two and a half years ago.” Greene countered that “the media barrage continues.”

Greene’s preferred destinations: Somewhere “north of Orlando,” he said, such as Tallahassee or Gainesville.

Keith Mitnik, an attorney for Zenaida Gonzalez, the woman suing Anthony, responded to the motion frankly: “We don’t care.”

“We think we can get justice anywhere,” Mitnik said. He said the venue change isn’t needed, but he wouldn’t object “so long as the defense is willing to pay this expense” of relocating.

Citing guidelines that say the party asking for a change of venue must pay the “accrued” cost, Mitnik said it would be unfair for Anthony to stick taxpayers with the bill.

Greene said Anthony is indigent, and the statute Mitnik cited is “poorly worded.” It was only meant to refer to transfer fees, he said, not other expenses, like moving court personnel.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez’s lawyers have filed a motion asking Munyon to allow them to question Anthony about audio recordings they say she made.

Anthony referenced the recordings in a video diary that leaked online in January. Gonzalez’s team wants them, but Anthony’s lawyers say they don’t have them.

Gonzalez wants “to determine what has happened to the audio tape(s) and if they have been destroyed after the request was made,” her new motion says.

The trial is set for January. Gonzalez says her life was upended after Anthony said a similarly named nanny had kidnapped her daughter in 2008.

Authorities later determined that the nanny never existed, and the girl, 2-year-old Caylee, was dead. But Gonzalez was linked to the high-profile case in the media.

Anthony was ultimately acquitted on all major charges in her daughter’s death in July 2011.

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