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Judge releases 2008 jail video of Casey Anthony

A Florida judge released a grainy jailhouse video of Casey Anthony being told that the remains of her 2-year-old daughter had been found in 2008
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Florida judge released a grainy jailhouse video of Casey Anthony being told that the remains of her 2-year-old daughter had been found in 2008

An Orlando television station argued in court for the release of the 15-minute video on grounds that it was a public record. The footage had been under judicial seal since June 2009.

Judge Belvin Perry ruled Friday that protecting Anthony's right to a fair trial was no longer an issue following her July acquittal on charges that she killed her toddler Caylee Anthony in the summer of 2008. The child's remains were discovered in a wooded area not far from the Anthony family home that December.

Though found not guilty of murder charges, Anthony was convicted of four charges of lying to police. She is somewhere in Florida serving a year of probation on a separate check fraud conviction. Authorities are keeping her whereabouts confidential for her safety.

Anthony's acquittal caused a national uproar, with people expressing their displeasure with the verdict both publicly and through social media.

In his ruling Perry also dismissed defense claims that the video should remain secret under medical privacy laws. Anthony's lead attorney, Jose Baez, had argued that she was in a medical facility when she found out and received a sedative to calm her down as she was forced to watch television coverage of the discovery. Baez said the entire incident was an attempt to elicit a reaction from Anthony and described it as "an intentional infliction of emotional distress."

Perry found those arguments lacking.

"There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in jail," Perry wrote in his order to release the video. "The fact that she was sitting in a waiting area of the medical facility did not convert the incident into a medical evaluation and the fact that medical personnel had the opportunity to observe her while she watched the news coverage and gave her a sedative does not change this conclusion."

In the black-and-white video, the quality of which resembles a convenient store surveillance camera with no audio, Anthony is brought into the waiting room and seated in a chair while law enforcement officials stand nearby.

About a minute later she glances up in the direction of what was described in court — but not visible in the video — at television news coverage of the remains' discovery. Anthony then doubles over with her hands in her lap. Rising back to an upright posture she appears to be breathing heavily at times, though it's hard to tell because of the video's quality. She repeats this process a few more times before being escorted to an adjacent room and seated at a table.

After a few minutes, a man comes into view and two jail officials leave the room. The man eventually sits down next to Anthony and remains talking to her until the video ends.

This was the latest court challenge brought by a news organization to unseal public records in the case. In late July, Perry decided to unseal the names of jurors in the case only after a three-month cooling-off period that ends in October.