Those who have followed the disappearance and murder of Caylee Anthony have been forced to focus attention on the slain toddler’s grandparents. At first, most people thought they were in denial. They couldn't believe that their daughter may have murdered their granddaughter. Both Cindy and George obviously loved Caylee very much. They also love their daughter, Casey, although reports from family and friends point to difficult relationships within the family.
In my coverage of the case, I have tried to refrain from comment about their unusual behavior. I chalked it up to denial, deep denial as did many. I allowed that, in their overwhelming grief, they were lashing out in all directions. I made it my focus to report on the legal proceedings which, at the present time, seem to be leading to a murder trial for Caylee’s mother, Casey.
In this labyrinth of a case, we have had a lot of distractions from this central focus. We’ve had the "Todd Black" distractions. We have had Casey’s lawyer, Jose Baez, investigated for possible shady dealings in the entertainment field to fund the defense. Private investigators Dominic Casey and James Hoover investigated the site of Caylee’s remains, supposedly led there by a psychic whose "dream" led them there. There is the meter reader, Roy Kronk. There has been talk of a "dream team" of lawyers and expert witnesses who have flocked to defend the alleged murderer. There is the undercover sting by ex-boyfriend Tony Lazzaro to ferret out information from Casey’s brother Lee. In the past week, we have seen the judge on the case and private investigator Dominic Casey file charges against Baez with the Florida Bar. It’s been a three-ring circus with an extensive side-show thrown in.
Most of all, we have had George and Cindy Anthony.
From the very beginning, Cindy Anthony took the offensive and blasted the media, law enforcement, and the public at large for not doing whatever she deemed necessary to find her granddaughter. Almost immediately, Cindy started to shovel blame for Caylee’s disappearance on Casey’s friends, most noticeably Jesse Grund, Ricardo Morales, and Amy Huizenga. She appeared everywhere on the media to plead for people to search for a living Caylee and at the same time put every roadblock she could on the efforts of TES to search for her granddaughter.
At first, George Anthony stayed in the background and allowed Cindy to rant and rave. As time went by, his temper flared and we caught sight of his tantrums. I clearly understand that he has been anguished about having to testify against his daughter to the grand jury.
However, in many ways, the Anthony’s have only themselves to blame for a good deal of the negative attention they have garnered. While they were begging the press to publicize the picture of there missing grandchild, they were antagonizing everyone at the same time. By denying the possibility Caylee might be dead, they were denying searchers the opportunity to find her remains in a respectful manner. They avoided the possibility that their own daughter could possibly be responsible. At one point, Cindy exclaimed that her daughter, when it was all over, would be called the "Mother of the Year."
Here are a few video links which demonstrate the manner in which George and Cindy dealt with the media and the public to push their agenda forward:
Cindy on Geraldo, July 19
Fox Interview with Cindy, July 21
Cindy on Greta, July 21, 2008
George’s Stinky Pizza Recipe, about August 3, 2008 (after seeing Casey in jail)
Cindy Anthony lashes out at the press, August 29
George Anthony Freaks Out: August 29
Indeed, they were under tremendous stress. Casey was home on bond that was posted by Leonard Padilla and they were constantly confronted by protesters in front of their property. However, instead of staying inside and allowing the police to handle disturbances, they still felt that they had to personally confront those people.
Once Casey was returned to jail on October 14, without bond on murder charges, the protesters left and George and Cindy were afforded a blessed peace and quiet at their home. However, they did not did not stop their continuing efforts to paint their daughter in a positive light and cast aspersions on those they attempted to blame for the crime. Every time there was a release of documents under the very liberal Florida Sunshine Law, it seemed there was another "sighting" of a live Caylee somewhere in the country. Most famous is the picture in an Orlando Mall of a little girl playing in a children’s area. In December, George and Cindy made a trip to California, ostensibly to personally check on a live-Caylee sighting tip. While they were there, they decided to plead their case on Larry King Live.
Here is a link to the first part which will lead you to the remainder if you have a desire to watch the entire program: Part 1
Caylee Marie Anthony’s remains were discovered the next morning, December 11, 2008. Nothing much was heard of from the family until George’s "suicide attempt" on January 23, 2009. He was hospitalized and eventually released for follow-up care near his home in Orlando.
Fast-forward to Thursday, April 9, 2009. After having delayed the depositions in the suit and counter-suit for defamation between Zenaida Gonzales due to George’s fragile emotional state and the fact that George and Cindy were seriously grieving the loss of their granddaughter, the couple appeared for depositions at the Morgan&Morgan law firm, accompanied by their attorney, Bradley Conway.
What followed will go down in legend as examples of how not to behave at a deposition. George Anthony, emotionally fragile, was ready to do battle with attorney Keith Mitnik. He argued, refused to answer key questions, and accused Mr. Mitnik of "flipping the bird" at him whilst pushing his glasses up on his nose. He too terrible offense at the term "remains" being used to describe the scattered bones of his granddaughter. Personally, I have used the term "remains" frequently in my posts. One can’t say "body," nor would one want to say "carcass," indicating bones. Unfortunately, "remains" is the most civilized way to describe what was left of little Caylee after the ravages of months in the Florida heat and torrential rains which flooded the area where she was found. One positive aspect of George’s testimony was that he totally abandoned the "stinky pizza" defense and repeated the facts as he told them to LE. He admitted it was the odor of death in the trunk of his daughter’s car.
Cindy behaved just as badly, if not worse. She chomped on her gum throughout the deposition and flounced around in her chair as she disparaged and insulted the attorney questioning her. She was so totally uncivilized and rude that, just watching the video, I am amazed how well the attorneys kept their wits about them and attempted to treat her with more kindness than she deserved.
At this point, both George and Cindy need a great deal of help. They have moved way beyond denial. They are out to prove someone else's son or daughter has done what they refuse to believe their own child has done. They are playing verbal games and positioning their testimony somewhere between fact and outright perjury. Most of all, they are trying to help Casey.
The best way that George and Cindy Anthony can help their daughter is to get some serious counseling and listen to the professional lawyer who has volunteered his time to help them through the ordeal. There is no way that I can believe Bradley Conway advised his clients to behave the way they did at the depositions. What they did there was exactly the opposite of helping their daughter. Instead, they left the impression that they had things to hide. By refusing to answer with a quick yes or no or giving short, succinct answers to questions, they drew attention to their outlandishness. By attacking the Morgan&Morgan attorneys and by acting in a smug, demeaning, and childish manner, they showed a contempt for this legal process. If they take the stand in the trial and attempt the same kind of behavior, they will not impress any jury as "grieving grandparents." Instead, they will be seen as contemptuous of the law. This will also not help Casey. If Casey Anthony is innocent, as she claims, the truth, and only the truth, will gain her an acquittal.