On Jan. 8, 2013, lawyers for Casey Anthony argued to a Florida appellate court that Anthony’s four convictions for lying to authorities should be overturned. Anthony was acquitted in the death of her daughter Caylee, but was charged with lying to law enforcement in the search for the two-year-old. The outcome of the appeal could affect Anthony’s defamation suit from Zenaida Gonzalez, who is being represented by Morgan & Morgan. Gonzalez is suing Anthony, claiming that she incurred damages when Anthony claimed that a fictional nanny bearing the same name had taken her daughter.
“This hearing today is critical for our case because, at this junction, we have been unable to get testimony from Casey Anthony…because she has been hiding behind the shield of the fifth amendment,” Matt Morgan, the attorney for Gonzalez, told ABCNews.com.
The pending criminal charge permits Anthony to exercise her 5th amendment right–protection against forced self-incrimination in her criminal case. If the appeal is granted, and the state does not appeal to the Supreme Court, Anthony could be forced to answer questions regarding her daughter’s disappearance in the civil trial.
The three-judge appellate panel is being asked to determine “whether Anthony was in police custody when she made statements that led to her convictions,” according to ABC News, citing an affiliate. If the court finds that Anthony was in custody of police, it could overturn her lying convictions on grounds that she hadn’t been read her Miranda rights, and therefore, her statements to police were inadmissible.
When Caylee went missing in 2008, Anthony told police that a nanny by the name of Zenaida Gonzalez had taken her daughter, that she was employed by Universal Studios, that she had spoken with fellow employees about Caylee’s disappearance, and that she recently spoke with her daughter on the telephone. These statements served as the basis for her lying convictions.
To date, no ruling has been made, and the court does not have a time-table to make its decision. According to court officials, however, the decision could be made within 30 days. The civil suit has been postponed until the appeal of Anthony’s lying convictions is ruled upon.
Matt Morgan told ABCNews.com that he hopes the civil trial will be able to proceed in late spring or early summer.