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Smoke and Mirrors and Alligator Tears

    I've often mentioned one of the oldest tricks in the book. It goes something like this. Suppose I need to borrow $20, but I know it might not be easy. I approach you, and instead of asking for that amount, I ask for $100. Why do I need $100, you ask? I have a lot of bills to pay, and some of them are late. You explain that you can't afford to give me that much money. Why not? I really need it. Come on, you have it. Please? I continue to badger you until I finally say, okay, how about $20 instead? Of course, so you pull out your wallet and hand me a crisp Andrew Jackson. Do you see what I just did? I got $20 out of you and that's all I wanted to begin with. It's called trickery, plain and simple, and just like that, it's the same thing Jose Baez pulled off in the courtroom today. How, you may ask? Hold on to that question. Keep it in your pants and look out for pickpockets.
    No doubt, it was a fascinating opening day in the courtroom. Right from the start, Linda Drane Burdick did an absolutely brilliant job of painting a panoramic vista of this sad saga, from the beginning of Caylee's life to the bitter end. It was a Cliff's Notes version of everything we've learned during the past three years of scrutinizing this case - only more. Oh, the memories; we've heard almost all of it all before, but this time, Burdick's message seemed to come straight from the heart of Caylee and it was described in greater detail, with much more promised to come. As much as she is a consummate professional in her field, she made it clear it's justice she's seeking; nothing more and nothing less. From just after 9:00 am to 11:38 am, this seemed like something that was slowly and steadily shoring up to be a lesson in humility for the defense. It was, of course, until Casey's lead attorney got up to address the jury just after lunch.
    Jose Baez's opening statement began as something innocuous enough, but it quickly mutated into some sort of hideous monster that went against the grain of everything we've ever learned about morals and scruples. Sure, he used a plethora of alliterative language and innuendo. Forensic science would become science fiction by the time he was done with it, but when he shifted into high gear and began explaining what happened to Caylee, just as he promised he would do within the first few minutes, he was right. What he delivered was explosive. BAM! George was home when Caylee innocently drowned in the backyard pool. George plucked her lifeless body out of the water as Casey frantically searched the back yard for her. He cradled her in his arms.
    "Look what you've done!" George screamed, as Casey approached. "You'll spend the rest of your life in jail for this!"
    That was nothing. The worst was yet to come. From eight years until she was thirteen, George and Lee sexually abused Casey. Do you have any idea what it's like to have your father's penis in your mouth before going to school? No wonder she dropped out.
    What Casey's defense did was disgusting, but it was good strategy, and I'll tell you why. It defused the charges against their client. Caylee's death was nothing more than an accident and George was in on the coverup from the start. No wonder Casey lied. George dangled Caylee's death in front of her. Not only that, Baez said, but there's not one single thread of evidence that points directly to Casey.
    Of course, he couldn't explain how Caylee got in the trunk of Casey's car, if she was ever in it to begin with. He even hinted that Cindy may have been in on it. And Roy Kronk. They set her up! The duct tape belonged to George. To prove it, that same tape was on his gas can. HIS GAS CAN! George used it to hang "Find Caylee" signs at the command center. There's no direct link of the tape to Casey. The list can go on and on, but there's still the matter of Roy Kronk. Roy had the body. Roy "found" the body to collect a big reward. Roy placed the body in the woods. He told his own son that he found her, but Baez never explained how "Devious Roy" got hold of the toddler's body to begin with, and he never offered any explanation why Casey kept her mouth shut for almost three years. Why?
    What happened in that courtroom today was a travesty. You know it, I know it, and almost everyone else involved in this case, from the outside in, completely understands it, but what we must remember is that the main responsibility of a criminal defense attorney is to set their client free. As I've said over and over again, they sometimes represent real criminals, and they'll do everything short of selling their soul to the devil to get the job done. Some, anyway. But while it was a travesty, it was also only a few hairs short of brilliant. How? When the jury left the courthouse late this afternoon, they walked away with one obvious thought - Man, that's one screwed up family. Liars beget liars, and Casey's that way because that's how she was raised. Mess with the credibility of the state's witnesses. Throw them all under the bus, but first and foremost, take as much focus off Casey as possible. Turn it around while offering the jury something else to ponder; something far more important - the possibility that this was a terrible accident that spiraled out of control.
    In my opinion, George was not supposed to be the first witness to take the stand for the state, but Baez forced their hand. His bus changed lanes and that changed the rhythm. The state had no choice. They had to counter while George was still fresh in the minds of those jurors. Of course, he denied it, and he garnered a lot more respect from the public by standing up to Casey. You go, George!
    When Roy Kronk takes the stand, this defense is going to paint a hideous picture in its attempt to discredit him. All it will take for an acquittal will be to change the faces of those, like him, we grew to admire. We may believe him, but the jury didn't know a hill of beans about him or any of the witnesses until today.
    As today unfolded, there's no longer a thread of doubt in my mind about Casey. She will take the stand in her own defense. That's something I thought I'd never say, but that's not all. As we walked out of the courtroom, Beth Karas told me an interesting thing. She was an assistant district attorney in New York City for eight years, in case you don't remember. She said the jury will never find Casey guilty of first-degree murder after today. I'm beginning to understand why. Full speed ahead. A lot of buses are heading our way. I'll bet you twenty bucks.

 

 


    

 

 

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Comments, page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 Next »
May 24, 2011 10:58 pm
 Posted by  Nanna Frances

You are wrong about one thing. Jose Baez sold his soul to the devil today.

Great article, Dave.

May 24, 2011 11:59 pm
 Posted by  Amber

Great post Dave, as usual. Did anyone expect before hand that the defense would throw these people that far under the bus? I thought that both Linda Drane Burdick and Jose Baez did an outstanding job with the opening arguments, especially considering that the state appears to have much more to back up its statements. I do not see how Jose could have done much more to try to save his client with the situation as it was. The one difference I saw in the quality of the arguments was that Linda's statements on the surface appeared to be believeable. After Jose got past the statement that Caylee's death was accidental which I do believe, I don't think he said much that was true. I certainly do not believe that George saw or held his drowned grandchild. He would have tried CPR and called 911 and wouldn't have given up his attempts to revive her until the medical personnel at the scene pronounced her dead. She may well have survived because there are instances of drowned todlers recovering miraculously after lengthy attempts to resuscitate. Didn't Cindy and some friend have to pull him away when he was attacking Casey trying to find out where Caylee was? Why would he do that if he already knew?

May 25, 2011 01:45 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I have been following your blog from Texas, thank you so much for your diligence in covering this case.

I have always thought Casey drugged Caylee, put her in the trunk as an overnight babysitter and put tape on her mouth to keep anyone from hearing her...remember, she was spending the night having sex with her boyfriend who was very clear NOT to bring Caylee...and her parents probably screamed at her that they weren't going to take care of Caylee that night and so broke Casey put her in the "trunksitter"... (so much for Zanny.)

Casey came home drunk or stoned and frankly completely forgot about having a kid. She woke up and went oh, shi* and found Caylee, who has aspirated from vomit, dead, and then immediately called her mother in a panic. And, the coverup began.

Really, this is what makes sense the most if an accident occured...think about it, why the repeat phone calls to her mother like that? HELLO?

May 25, 2011 01:49 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

sleeze bag ie baez mega sleeze bag and its incredible that one can mock justice in this way... so much for truth

May 25, 2011 05:40 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

First, I think our legal system needs some major revamping, its ridiculous how this took this long for trial & how they could change her story every week. I thought both sides have to show their cards up front before the trial.
Second, The swimming pool argument is going to DROWN .
If she went one way & George went around the other way - how
did her father have the time to take the ladder down go in
retrive the dead child carry her out and then end up with
casey come around the corner seeing him already holding the child.
What is he suddenly superman. I had one of those pools, its hard enough getting yourself in & out.
Also, what happened to their soaking wet clothes ???
Oh, and then Casey held the child & left in wet clothes and went out with her boyfriend & rented videos.
Third, George did not sexually abuse his daughter. Thats another
lie. If he had been, why didn't casey move out as soon as possible.
Victims of sex abuse just don't behave like this at all.

May 25, 2011 05:43 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Good article, Dave, but I disagree with you in that I believe Casey WILL be found guilty of first degree murder. Just because Ms. Karas said that, doesn't make it so. George was COMPLETELY beleivable - why? because HE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH!!! And all the jurors saw that. I know that in my gut. Therefore, right from the start, Jose has been discredited as a lying defense attorney not to be trusted about anything.

Casey will ge found guilty of first degree murder.

May 25, 2011 05:53 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Anonymous at 2:45 - None of those calls to Cindy were answered. Cindy and George were not part of the cover up. Only Casey did it. Only Casey knew. Only Casey covered it up.

Why is the simplest, plain, stark truth so hard for everyone to believe? Stop it with the conspiracy stories!

May 25, 2011 06:22 am
 Posted by  Dave Knechel

One thing I noticed about the jury yesterday was when George was on the stand. They kept looking at George and turning their heads to look at Casey. Back and forth they went.

I'd like to answer comments, and I'll try to do that in the courtroom today, but your comments may sit in moderation until someone lets them out. I can't login from my iPad.

May 25, 2011 06:42 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dave, I'm SHOCKED that Beth Karas was pulled in by Baez's opening statement. I really believe the jury is savvy enough to distinguish an embellished lie from the truth. Even if they aren't, sexual abuse doesn't carry as much cache with juries as it once did. Let's not forget Susan Smith, the murdering mother who WAS sexually abused and was nonetheless found guilty of FIRST DEGREE MURDER and sentenced to life in prison. When ALL of the facts about Casey's "Bella Vita" are presented to them (we are what we do, not what we say, after all), the jury will find that they are completely incongruent with those of a mother who lost her child to a freak accident.

I'll bet you my entire net worth that her affable brother, Lee, is going to get up on the stand and pound nails into her hands and feet. And he will have a lot of help from all of her friends and acquaintances that she lied to and scammed year after year.

Gloucester

May 25, 2011 06:48 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Hi Dave, Rosebud here.

How dare you throw a shadow over Jose's brightest moment? He captured everyone's attention today.Right..That he did..He stomped, shouted and flipped around the courtroom like a peacock. All the time poor little Casey went from crying her poor me tears to looks of pure defiance and hatred. Together they managed to destroy what was left of an already crumpled and shattered family. What a facade and a shame. Had I been George's wife I would have gently taken his arm and walked him right out the door until all that trash was over.

Linda Drane-Burdick did a fantastic job. She presented the case and facts while maintaining her dignity. I'm not sure that Jeff will be as calm now that he is over the shock of just how low they will stoop. I don't think for one minute the jury will buy any of it either.

As for what happened to little Caylee I agree with the above post that she was stuck in the trunk, taped and drugged and forgotten for so long that she passed away. All alone and scared in the dark. No one was there to protect her and rub her little back. No one to comfort her. It was more important for Mommy Dearest to live the "good life."

One more point before I get back to my stewing. Jose even managed to make something dirty out of George going into the delivery room when she was born..My husband, my daughter's husband and I were in the room when our grand daughter was born. Heer husband held one hand and i held the other..Her dad stood at the head of the bed rubbing her head and prayed the whole time. She was draped and nothing was seen that should not have been. She had found she had cancer half way through her pregnancy, had surgery and had taken chemo. What a glorious moment when we finally knew that both were fine. But I'm sure Jose could turn all that around and make it "dirty."

He has thrown it all out there..Now let's see if he can make any of it stick.

All I can say about Kronk---No good deed goes unpunished.

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About This Blog

'Marinade Dave' Knechel

Dave Knechel has been blogging about the Casey Anthony case since late 2008, drawing readers from all over the world. Best known as “Marinade Dave,” a nickname he got when he made marinades and also blogged about marinade recipes, Knechel is on assignment to blog about the case exclusively for orlandomagazine.com as Anthony goes to trial for first-degree murder. His posts will appear regularly on this site.

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