Rope-A-Dope or Going for Broke?
The Rumble in the Jungle was a boxing event between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Foreman was favored to win the fight because he was a more powerful puncher. During the match, Ali did his best to anger Foreman, who then attacked him relentlessly because of it. He forced Ali into the ropes. Ali looked beaten and many in the boxing world believed it. However, the fight was far from over – it was a successful strategy. Instead of being brutalized, he protected himself by allowing his sparring partners to beat him silly while training for the fight, and when Foreman got tired from all the punches he threw, Ali rebounded and won. That boxing style became known as the rope-a-dope.
Is this what's happening today in the Casey Anthony courtroom? Is the defense allowing the state to think they're up against a weak challenger? Don't count on it. From my ringside seat, enough time has elapsed to evaluate the situation, and I think it's safe to say we can sense the approach each side is taking. The way I see it, the prosecution is like a championship prizefighter, but without the rope-a-dope strategy.
The defense, on the other hand, looks like a young upstart. The style is combative and unorthodox, but that doesn't always mean ineffective. A champion looks at someone new as an unknown entity and doesn't know what to expect. In this case, I would consider Jose Baez a fighter, but I would not consider him an extraordinary one. While he's got a rough and tumble trainer in Cheney Mason, sort of like Mickey Goldmill, Burgess Meredith's character in Rocky, Jose is no Rocky, although some of his ideas play out like a fictional character. No, I see him more as someone who has his moments, but not enough that we will ever see the state attorneys backed into a corner by any “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” trickery. Let's face it, the defense has an awful challenge ahead, but are they a good match?
When Jose practically called George Anthony an incestuous pervert for sexually abusing his daughter from age 8 until 13, he was laying a foundation for later on. It's the same thing with the pool story; that George was the one who pulled Caylee's lifeless body out of the water. Things like that are called gut punches, but Jose's are unfairly hitting below the belt.
Like the rounds of a boxing match, the state is taking us on a well-choreographed journey that began on June 15, 2008, the day before Caylee died. It leads to Casey's arrest on the first-degree capital murder charge and beyond – the discovery of her daughter's skeletal remains in the woods around the corner from her house. Everything is meticulously in order; everything falls neatly into place because it's being presented at a pace that has time to sink in, and that helps the jury piece things together nicely. The defense, on the other hand, attempts to unhinge the work. Have they been successful?
Every witness called to the stand so far has kept the defense off balance. Oh, they've had a few zingers, but most have been mea culpa moments. Every one of Casey's former friends and lovers from Anthony Lazzaro to Amy Huizenga have told a similar story about Casey that pits the good against the bad. George Anthony did extremely well on the stand and Cindy fared better, although it must have been one of the worst days in her life. She was great, and by the time we finished listening to the third 911 call, you could have heard a pin drop in the courtroom. It was riveting and powerful, to say the least. Amy made Jose look terrible. When he accused her of being a drunk in order to discredit her, she told him outright that she was not on trial here. Nor was she a hussy for getting to know Jesse Grund, Casey's former beau. Nope, she fell for nothing. I understand that a defense attorney throws everything, including the kitchen sink, at the opposition, but she was one sharp lady.
When Jose brought up Casey's menagerie of friends, like Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, he took an interesting twist by facing the problem head on. He questioned Cindy about why she never sensed that Casey was living in another world, a world with very realistic imaginary people. He tried to infer that Yuri was a novice for not recognizing these friends for what they really are – fictional figments from an obviously disturbed individual. In almost all instances, Jose came across as a bumbler. Lazzaro, Huizenga and all her former party mates came across as very credible. Yuri reminded me of an old Sade song – Smooth Operator.
Ultimately, the bottom line is this:
- No one is ever going to believe that George sexually abused his own daughter.
- When George came home on the fateful night of July 15, 2008, he was just as confused as everyone else in that household. Clearly, he understood from many past experiences the out of control wrath of his daughter, and instead of instigating the problem, he let law enforcement do their jobs.
- As for George finding Caylee in the pool, it won't work. He would have called 911 -- hands down.
The story making the rounds in and near the courthouse is pretty much set in concrete now. When Cindy Anthony found out what the defense strategy was going to be, and yes, she did, she stopped searching for the imaginary nanny. While she and George both knew that an abuse allegation was on its way, they had absolutely no idea how far it would go. George, Cindy and Lee, plus their attorney, were as shocked as we were. Trust me, I know all about the low blows this defense is capable of throwing, and so does one of the Ninth Circuit Court's finest.
Once again, throw everything at the wall and something's bound to stick. While the state of Florida doesn't consider Casey psychologically challenged, the jury may. Personally, I think she is, and what Jose is proposing is preposterous, but it may be enough to keep her off death row. Why? Let's see, there's Zenaida and Jeff and Zachary and Gloria and Samantha and Juliet and Raquel and Jules. Surely, the state of Florida would never execute that many narcissistic sociopaths at one time.
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