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Video: Casey Anthony’s ex-fiance: ‘Angry, shocked’ by verdict

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    >> jesse grund who was once engaged to casey anthony testified at her trial. he's with us exclusively along with her bodyguard. good morning to both of you. jesse , let me start with you. just your reaction to the verdict. what was your response?

    >> i was angry and shocked by the verdict. it's obvious from the evidence that was presented that casey was the last person to see caylee alive and her body was dumped in the woods. by saying --

    >> tracy ?

    >> i was also shocked. i couldn't believe it.

    >> you said you actually got ill.

    >> i felt sick to my stomach all day yesterday.

    >> jesse , i know you feel one of the mistakes that the prosecution made in this case was to try to present the anthony family as a cohesive, loving group. why is that?

    >> because the fact is, matt, they are not a cohesive loving group. that family was a carnival of dysfunctionality. most families in america are dysfunctional and have their problems. theirs was worse. all it took was a defense to show a little bit of how dysfunctional they were to start poking holes in the prosecution's case.

    >> you feel that george and cindy anthony , while on the stand, hurt the prosecution?

    >> absolutely. cindy 's example of lying, as i've always said, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. casey had to learn her behavior from somewhere. presented a picture of that family, the same picture that the defense was trying to present.

    >> and so, tracy , where does this family go now? we have a mother and father apparently on one side, although there may be some fractures between them as well. you've got a daughter and a brother perhaps on the other side. where does this family go, in your opinion?

    >> i think what happened is i think casey will end up going home . i don't know if george will stay there. i think cindy will have casey home. it's hard to quit loving your daughter but i think cindy wants to get to the bottom of this and she won't care if it takes ten day or ten years.

    >> you envision a time where casey anthony goes back and lives with her mother again after this trial.

    >> yes, i do.

    >> you think the father becomes estranged from the family?

    >> i would think so. i would actually hope so. i can't see george staying in the situation.

    >> jesse , give me your take on this. look into your crystal ball . what do you see happening with this family over the coming weeks and months?

    >> there's no way casey goes back to that household. cindy and casey have had an adversarial relationship the entire time she has been alive. being part of the family the way i was, there is no way casey goes back to that home. there's no way they have any semblance of a normal family life. right now she has everything she ever wanted. sles going to have money. she's going to have people at her doorstep asking for her, wanting her. she's going to have that partying lifestyle that she so craved.

    >> i don't know when the last time was that you spoke with casey , jesse , but first of all, when was it and what would you say to her if you could talk to her this morning?

    >> the last time i talked to casey was when she showed up at my house to take a shower because she didn't have a shower available for her to use. what i would i say if i saw her today? i would tell her that she needs to repentd because at the end of the day she is going to have to answer to why caylee isn't on this earth anymore.

    >> jesse grund and tracy mclaughlin, my thanks to both of you. appreciate it very much.

    >> matt, thank you. can i take a second to thank a lot of the people out there who supported me, friends and family. i haven't always been the easiest to deal with during this time. but i appreciate all the love and support everyone has poured out to me through this.

    >> jesse , thank you very much.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 7/6/2011 9:13:04 AM ET 2011-07-06T13:13:04

After a murder trial in which Casey Anthony’s family was portrayed as a fractured mess by the defense, Anthony’s former fiancé told TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Wednesday that there is no way the family can return to a normal life.

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Jesse Grund was previously engaged to Anthony and at one time believed he was the father of Anthony’s 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, whose decomposed body was found in the woods in 2008. Grund witnessed the dynamics between Casey, her parents, George and Cindy, and her brother, Lee, and feels there is no picking up the pieces of a family in disarray.

Video: Casey Anthony’s ex-fiance: ‘Angry, shocked’ by verdict (on this page)

“They are not a cohesive, loving group,’’ Grund told TODAY exclusively about the Anthonys. “That family was a carnival of dysfunctionality.

“There’s no way Casey goes back to that household. Cindy and Casey have had an adversarial relationship the entire time that Caylee has been alive. Being a part of that family the way that I was, there is no way Casey goes back to that home. There is no way they have any semblance of a normal family life.’’

Tuesday's not-guilty verdict has captivated the nation. And like many, Grund was incredulous when Anthony was acquitted on all counts on Tuesday. In his opinion, the prosecution made a mistake in trying to portray the Anthonys as normal and loving.

Story: Anthony juror: 'Sick to our stomach' over verdict

“I was angry and shocked by the verdict,’’ he said. “It’s obvious from the evidence that was presented that Casey was the last person to see Caylee alive, and her body was dumped in the woods.’’

Video: Prosecutor: I was ‘shocked’ by verdict (on this page)

The verdict came at the end of a trial in which the defense tried to illustrate the dysfunction of the Anthony family, alleging that George molested Casey when she was eight years old. George denied their claims and the judge said they were never proven by evidence. George acknowledged that he contemplated suicide at one point, even leaving a note, while Casey issued an icy stare in his direction throughout his testimony. Meanwhile, Cindy cried frequently and was often portrayed as a liar.

“(With) Cindy’s example of lying, as I’ve always said, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree,’’ Grund said. “Casey had to learn her behavior from somewhere.’’

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Casey's brother Lee Anthony described being frozen out of Caylee’s birth celebration by his mother and sister. It all added up to a picture that Grund had seen firsthand when he fell in love with a 19-year-old Anthony in 2005.

When Caylee was first born, Casey Anthony told Grund he was the father, even though they had broken up before she became pregnant. When Caylee’s disappearance was first reported, Casey told authorities that Grund was the one responsible for it, according to tapes released by Orlando police. Grund took a polygraph test, and was quickly ruled out as a suspect.

Video: Anthony family torn apart by trial (on this page)

In 2008, Grund told TODAY Anthony was a fun-loving girl who turned into a pathological liar once her daughter was reported missing. The girl he once fell in love with is now gone, he felt, and has been replaced by a party girl who enjoys attention. The media glare of the trial and her subsequent acquittal should only serve to feed that attention, he said.

“Right now, she has everything she ever wanted,’’ Grund said. “She is going to have money, she is going to have people at her doorstep asking for her, wanting her, and she’s going to have that partying lifestyle that she so craved.’’

Anthony’s fate has been determined by the legal system, but what ultimately happened to her daughter may never be known.

“What would I say if I saw her today?’’ Grund said about Anthony. “I would tell her she needs to repent, because at the end of the day, she is going to have to answer for why Caylee isn’t on this earth any more.’’

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