The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Sex, Lies and Duct Tape

Posted by thedarwinexception on May 26, 2011

Today marked the return of Anthony Lazzaro, the re-call of George Anthony to the stand, and then a parade of former friends and acquaintances of Casey’s. At least there were no more shot girls, and it seems we are past the Hot Body contest. But I’ve gotta tell you, I’d take 50 fucking hot body contests over any more fucking gas cans. For the love of God. If I EVER see a gas can again in my life, you can bet I’m going to kick the shit out of the fucking thing. And Jose Baez is beginning to irritate the shit out of me, too. I was giving the guy the benefit of the doubt. When everyone else was calling him “Bozo” and the “DUHfense attorney”, I stayed neutral, preferring to make no judgment until the trial began. So now the trial has begun. Yeah, OK, he’s an idiot. Well, no, maybe not a total idiot. But he’s definitely not very experienced in a lot of aspects of trial procedure. And he’s irritating me. If I was in the courtroom, I’d probably be tempted to hit him in the head with a gas can.

But, anyway……

One line stood out today – a former girlfriend of Troy Brown’s, a friend of Casey’s, said that she witnessed Casey talking on the phone, and then hanging up, turning to Melissa and saying “God, I’m such a good liar.” I don’t think that any of the witnesses we saw today would dispute Casey on that observation. And that may have been the truest thing that ever came out of Casey’s mouth.

The day began with the cross examination of Anthony Lazzaro. Baez got him to say that Casey was a relatively good mother – Lazzaro never saw her yell at Casey, or torture her, or beat on her. Lazzaro testified to the seeing love and affection between mother and child – and Baez did manage a very sneaky “She wasn’t faking that, was she?”

Baez also got Tony to admit that she told him a “secret” before she was arrested. I’m sure he wants the jury to think that this was the “secret” about her molestation. But he’s not allowed to testify to the actual secret – he will proffer to the court exactly what the secret is later in the day.

After the jury is excused for the day, Lazarro retakes the stand to tell the judge all about the “secret” – which is that Lee Anthony, her brother, tried to “feel her up”. Lazzaro doesn’t know exactly when this occurred, bu tit wasn’t a current thing, it was something that happened to her when she was younger. Casey also told him that her father abused her – but this was in the form of “hitting”. Lazzaro took that to mean discipline when she was a child.

But the jury hears none of this. The judge is going to decide if they ever hear any of it.

Tony did testify in open court (again) about the whole gas can thing. (Which we heard more about than we ever wanted to know once George got on the stand. Good God.) Tony can’t remember if there was duct tape on the can when he took it out of the shed. And he re-iterated that he never saw inside the trunk and only smelled gas – not a decomposing body.

Then he leaves and the State re-calls George.

The state asks him all about the break in of the shed. How it was broken into, what kind of lock it was, what was in the shed, all about the gas cans. The state also showed George a diagram of the entire house and yard. George went through the entire story of how he had an interview that day and didn’t go to work, how Casey came in to the house during a time when George would normally have already left, and how she was surprised to see him there. They made small talk for a few minutes, with him asking where Caylee was, and Casey saying she only had a few minutes – she had to pick up clothes for her imaginary job, and Caylee was with the imaginary nanny. He told Casey about the gas cans being stolen and asked if she knew anything about that – she told him she didn’t know what he was talking about. He says that as Casey was leaving, he remembered he had to get some blocks or something out of Casey’s car – he needed the blocks to work on Cindy’s car. George testifies that Casey rushed past him and told him that she would get the blocks. When she got to her car trunk, she hurriedly opened it up, threw the gas cans in the driveway and told her father “There’s your fucking gas cans.”

George then tells the jury that he put the duct tape on the gas can because when he got the can back from Casey the little round air vent was missing from the can. He didn’t want the smell of gas to overpower the shed that he normally kept the cans in, so he covered the hole in the can.

Then we have the cross examination by Baez – which was as contentious as it could get, especially considering that it was only two days ago that Baez accused George of being a child rapist and complicit in the coverup of his granddaughter’s death. George was not happy, and he certainly wasn’t going to allow Baez any slack.

The cross focused on the gas cans. And really, folks, I don’t get it, I just don’t. I know that the same duct tape that was found wrapped around Caylee’s skull was found on the gas cans. I get it, I do. And I know that in its opening argument, the defense contended that if you “follow the duct tape” you would find who was responsible. But after that, yeah, I’m done. I don’t get it. I just don’t understand why these fucking gas cans are treated like they are the Holy Fucking Grail in this case. And maybe they are, and I just don’t get it. But I don’t get it.

Now, first off: Why the hell would George call the cops when he saw the shed broken into to begin with? I mean, he even admitted when Baez asked him that yeah, Casey stole gas all the time. It annoyed him, and he had told her several times “Don’t take the gas cans, I’ll give you money if you ask.” So when he found his shed broken into – why did he call the cops? And did he tell the police “Look, I think my daughter did this?” I think it was goofy that he called the cops – but, whatever.

Ok – so then the very same day that George reports this theft to the police, Casey returns the gas cans. Did George call the cops back and tell them that there was no theft? No one asked him, so we don’t know.

Baez then gets out these huge calendars on easels and tells George to mark this date and that date and when did he mow his lawn and when did he call the cops and when did they report Caylee missing, and it’s all a huge clusterfuck.

But we do get a few snippets of information out of all this (and in between the dick waving of George and Jose – who can be more arrogant and righteous – with George winning with his lines of “If you give me respect, I’ll give you respect” and “You’re badgering me and trying to upset me…”)

Anyway, in between all the fighting back and forth, we do learn that George bought other, different gas cans and never filled these gas cans with gas again – which makes you wonder why he needed the duct tape on the open hole. But that wasn’t explored. Baez also tried to impeach his testimony with an earlier statement to the FBI saying that No, he didn’t put the duct tape on the gas can, which was weird to me, because I thought Baez wanted George to be the one who put the duct tape on the can. So why would he try to impeach his statement that he did?

But, like I said, I don’t get all this brouhaha over the cans, anyway. So, I’m not sure what they want the jury to infer or extract from all this shit.

Baez then gets into a whole nother bunch of crap about George not telling the cops that Caylee was missing when they came out to take his report about the gas cans. Baez said “So you reported gas cans missing, but not your granddaughter.” Which was also weird, because either way – whether Casey killed the kid or George lifted her lifeless body out of the pool – neither way would George report her missing. In the first case, he wouldn’t yet know Casey was missing, in the second, she wouldn’t be missing. He would know she was dead.

Just goofy, all of it. And how it relates to the gas cans? Yeah, I have no idea.

And during all of this gas can shit, they finally pissed off the Judge because Baez, who I guess doesn’t know the rules of evidence, kept asking questions about a picture of the gas can which wasn’t yet in evidence. (And why the state didn’t object 42 questions into this, I have no idea….) But Perry finally took them to a sidebar, where he explained all this shit to Baez, who then went back to the podium and continued to ask questions about the gas can. Good God.

The defense finally offered to put Tony Lazzaro back on the stand to proffer foundation about the picture (how, I do not know – was he present when the picture was taken? And didn’t he say he couldn’t even remember if there was duct tape on it or not when he got it? ) But apparently, the state went over Perry’s head and told Lazzaro he could go to lunch, even thought the judge told him to stick around.

After a short break (during which the judge asked the lawyers about some questions the jury had – like if they can have pretzels and if they can watch the Lightning game), George comes back onto the stand. There is more questioning about the fucking gas cans, and then Baez asks George about his exclusion from the sequestration rule – and Judge Perry adamantly and quickly tells him “Mr. Baez – do NOT go there…” So Baez asks George if he had asked his lawyer to file….and Perry takes them all to another sidebar.

On re-direct the state brings forth that the gas cans were taken twice by law enforcement – once in August and then again in December, when their importance became clear (because of the matching duct tape.) George then states that he didn’t know the importance of the gas cans, and that he thought his granddaughter was alive and well on June 24th when he reported the break in to the shed.

The Baez re-crosses and asks George if he realizes the implications in the fact that the “biggest piece of evidence in this case” just happened to come to light because he made this report in June. And I certainly hope the jury realizes all these supposed “implications” because I don’t. I don’t know how you reconcile the fact that George admits putting the tape on the cans, and Jose’s supposed “Follow the duct tape to the truth” opening statement, and his arguing that there was no reason to call the cops, and his impeachment because George said originally that he didn’t put the duct tape on the can……

Whatever. Hopefully closing arguments will clear all this up. They better.

Next up we have Ricardo Morales. Another former boyfriend of Casey’s. She dated him from February of 2006 to April of 2008. He says that Casey and Caylee stayed over at his apartment “3 or 4 times a week” during that time. And he sold the pictures to Globe to prove it. For $4,000. The state shows the witness one of the photos he sold, and Morales says the picture must have been taken in January of 2008, because Caylee has that bruise under her eye. And there’s a flurry of activity, because there have been pre-trial motions about this very issue – that the jury will notice the bruise and draw inferences from it. (Does no one in the court know PhotoShop? Good God. ) So, there’s a stipulation quickly written up that acknowledges that the bruise under Caylee’s eye isn’t due to anyone abusing her. (Casey is charged with aggravated child abuse.) The state wants this picture in evidence because Caylee is wearing the same shirt she was buried in.

So, Morales continues that even after they broke up he and Casey remained friends, in fact he slept with her on June 7th, she and Caylee spent the night. They also spent the night on the 9th and 10th. The 10th was the last time he saw Caylee. He saw Casey gaain on July 1st when he woke up to find her in his living room with Amy – who was sleeping on his couch until she found an apartment.
During Cross, Baez shows Morales a picture that was found on Morales’ MySpace page – it’s a cartoon of a couple in bar. The man has a napkin that is reaching towards a woman’s face and the caption says ‘Win Her Over with Chloroform.” Classy.

Baez also asks the witness about the sleeping arrangements with Casey, Caylee and himself. He says that Casey slept in the middle. And they weren’t intimate when Caylee was in the bed.

Morales also testifies that mother and daughter interacted well, Caylee was not abused, and the only trouble Casey had with Caylee was the normal “it’s time for bed” stuff.

Next up is Melissa England. She was the girlfriend of Troy Brown. Only in town for the 4th of July weekend. Troy ended up having to work and Casey offered to take her shopping with Amy’s checkbook and Tony’s car. Neither of which she had permission to use, but, you know, I guess it wasn’t imaginary payday that weekend.

Melissa says that while they were out shopping Casey got into an argument on the phone with her mother. And then while they were in the car, Casey got a phone call from a friend. She says Casey told the friend she couldn’t hang out with her because she was having car trouble, and when she hung up the phone, she looked at Melissa and said “Oh My God. I’m such a good liar.” Baez’s cross consisted of asking “Did the state pay for you to come down here from Boston? Yes? Did they pay for your hotel room, too? Awesome! Do you know anything about the death of Caylee? No – OK – I’m done”

Next up is Troy Brown – the former boyfriend of Melissa’s. He is also a friend of Ricardo’s. I don’t know why the state called him. He testified to the same crap Melissa did – but in much less detail. And all Baez asked was “Do you know how Caylee died? No ? OK.”

Next up Lassen Donov. The State goes over some text messages between him and Casey about the nanny and how much Casey loves her. Baez asks if Lassen believed she really was a party planner – the witness says yes. Baez asks if he thought she was a nice, normal person. Lassen says yes. (I guess that’s to show the jury that Casey was just exactly what she told Melissa – A really good liar. ). Lassen also doesn’t know how Caylee died.

Then came Dante Salati – who lived at the Saw Grass apts. He was a mechanic and Casey used to bring Caylee to his job. That was pretty much about it – I shit you not. Baez did the whole “Do you know how Caylee died” thing. And that was that.

Then we have Matthew Crisp – he was the manager of an apartment building, and a High school friend of Casey’s. She called him to ask if he was still in the real estate business and he said yeah. She said her boyfriend was looking for a new apartment, and they set up a time for she and Tony to go look at his building. Casey showed up – she looked happy, normal, joyful. He didn’t show her an apartment because she didn’t have her ID (Guess he didn’t accept fake Universal Studio badges as ID.) Matthew did show an apartment to Tony, though. He and Casey then met for lunch on the 7th of July. Casey said that Caylee was at a play date in Sanford.

Surprise, Surprise – he doesn’t know how Caylee died, either.

The jury was then excused – and there was the proffer from Lazzaro about the sexual abuse. Before the jury left, the judge also addressed some of their earlier questions – and told them that they would NOT be working on Memorial Day.

I told you when they first asked that they wouldn’t be, remember?

I’m fucking exhausted after today.

And I want to choke a gas can.

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15 Responses to “Sex, Lies and Duct Tape”

  1. tess said

    LOL Kim, perfect synopsis of today. I was wondering about the whole gas can thing too. George evidently doesn’t realize the implications either. I thought he really tried to keep his temper under control today. Baez is really a wonder of the world, if I were on the jury, I might just have a problem following the path he is on. I really am looking foward to Cindy’s testimony. I think that might be an adventure.
    Tess

  2. Kim Rock said

    Hey Kim…great recap, as usual. I just want to share a few of my thoughts…

    I agree that the whole gas can thing got totally out of hand and made Baez look like a total idiot. However, I have a theory that the reason George called the Sheriff’s Department and reported the break-in of his shed is because, while he probably had a good idea that Casey had done it, I get the impression that confronting her might have caused a bigger problem for him. I get the impression that when there was conflict between him and Casey, Cindy would jump to Casey’s defense and there would be hell to pay. At that time, they were having marital problems anyway so maybe it was (in his mind) his way of trying to stop Casey’s ‘habit’ of stealing his gas.

    Ricardo Morales’ testimony that Caylee slept in the bed with he and Casey really bothered me. You know how you got all grossed out about George being in the delivery room? I felt the same way about this. I was a single mother from the time my daughter was 2 until she was 15 and in all those years, I NEVER ONCE had my daughter sleep with me and a boyfriend…NOT ONCE! An they did that regularly? Didn’t he say that there was only one time that Casey spent the night without Caylee sleeping in the bed with them? And as far as him saying that they weren’t ‘intimate’ in the bed with Caylee there, I call B.S.! He didn’t sound at all convincing when asked about that. Ewwwwww!

    I though Melissa England was an excellent witness for The State. Perfect! Interesting how Casey can get all upset, cry and call it a night over a few phone calls while out partying with her friends but doesn’t shed a tear over poor Caylee. But, I did feel really sorry for the poor girl. She seemed to be terrified…I could actually SEE her breathing and was afraid she might hyperventilate right there on the stand. I was actually relieved (for her) when she was finished testifying.

    I wonder why Cheney Mason cross examined Matthew Crisp. Maybe Jose had to go potty? Anyway, his cross was utterly ridiculous! Crisp even laughed a little as he left the stand, like ‘what the hell was that?!?’

    Last of all, I was really curious about the proffer from Lazzano at the end of the day. I was searching the internet trying to find out what all that means. I know very little about trial procedures and had hoped to find out if the jury would ever hear that testimony. From what I gather from you, it’s up to the judge? God, I hope he decides to let them hear that!

  3. >Last of all, I was really curious about the proffer from Lazzano at the end of the day. I was >searching the internet trying to find out what all that means. I know very little about trial >procedures and had hoped to find out if the jury would ever hear that testimony. From what I >gather from you, it’s up to the judge? God, I hope he decides to let them hear that!

    A “proffer” is kind of short for “preliminary offer”, it’s a preview of testimony or evidence outside the presence of the jury that a judge rules is either admissible or inadmissible, and decides whether or not it should be shown to the jury. I think in this instance this proffer was done because of Lee and his future testimony. I think this was a foundational proffer.

    Remember, the opening arguments are not evidence. Right now, there’s absolutely NOTHING in evidence that says Casey was molested by Lee – or abused by her father, physically or sexually – the only basis for these allegations is Jose Baez saying that she was abused in his opening statement. And that *isn’t* testimony, and it’s NOT evidence. And if/when Lee gets on the stand, Baez has to have a “good faith” reason to question him about alleged abuse. But he also has to lay a foundation for that line of questioning. He can’t just have a witness on the stand, under oath, and start “fishing” – asking the witness things like “Have you ever stolen something? Tell me all about that…” The attorney has to have a “good faith” reason to ask things like that. And he has to lay a foundation for that good faith with the court. The statements Casey allegedly made to Lazzaro (and some letter she wrote while in prison) are probably the only foundation Baez has. And, of course, Baez is not going to put CASEY on the stand to offer the reasons she wrote that letter, and ask her whether it was true or not. So Baez has to “proffer” to the court this “good faith” testimony by Lazzaro in order to later question Lee along these lines.

    Of course, I could be totally wrong and this proffer was made for some other reason altogether. But this is what I’ve got my money on. Mostly because Lazzaro was an “out of state” witness, and I doubt anyone is flying his ass back down here to testify to this. So I don’t think this testimony was ever *meant* to get in front of a jury by Lazzaro. I think Baez wanted the proffer as foundation BEFORE Lazzaro left, even though Lee might not be a witness for a while.

  4. Terri said

    I think the business with the gas can and the duct tape has to do with Baez’ assertion in the opening statement that George called the police about the shed break-in only to deflect culpability away from himself should Caylee’s remains be found. The duct tape was on Caylee, and I thought Baez implied that George, not Casey put it on her to make it look like an abduction. Then he put duct tape on the gas can to cover the vent opening, just so if/when it was compared with Caylee’s tape, it would “match” that tape, and point suspicion towards only Casey, since she was acting so outrageously, and that’s why he waited to mention to police that Casey broke into the shed. It’s convoluted, I know, but I that’s how I followed Baez. I also think Casey borrowed the shovel from the neighbor bc she couldn’t get into the shed with they key (did George hide it from her so she wouldn’t take the cans? I mean, Baez kept saying they were “a part of him,” he’d had them so long, and George had told Casey to ask for gas money instead of taking the cans), but when she needed gas, she was desperate enough to break into the shed.

    • >I think the business with the gas can and the duct tape has to do with Baez’ assertion in >the opening statement that George called the police about the shed break-in only to deflect >culpability away from himself should Caylee’s remains be found.

      I’m quite sure you are right about that – but having George admit on the stand (and arguing with him that he’s lying) that GEORGE is the one who put the tape on the can – seems to contradict that very thing, right? Or am I missing something? It seems to me that putting tape on the can would indicate that one had custody and control of the tape.

      And calling the police about the gas cans when the cans *didn’t* have tape on them at that time rules out the “connect the dots to the tape” thing. And why would the gas cans be important at *that* point? When there was no tape on them? Unless George *did* team up with Roy Kronk at that point and he was going to burn Caylee’s body – then pin the gas cans full of gas on Casey. BUt I think that’s a really long stretch. But maybe not for Baez. He seems to be falling under Casey’s spell as far as “fairy tales” go.

  5. TXCN said

    Kim – I, like others, discovered your blog during Spector’s trial. I am *so* happy you’re covering this trial. As someone else posted, nobody (especially mainstream media) does it better than you. As a matter of fact, I’m not wasting time watching the streaming video. I prefer to read your daily recaps. It’s more entertaining than the real event. (Noooo, I’m not saying murder trials should be entertaining. duh.) Thanks for doing such a good job.

  6. michellefrommadison said

    No well-educated person has turned on Casey. It takes an upper-level education in the dysfunctions to understand her abusive situation that lead to the lies concocted by George, and why Casey followed along. No murder in this case at all. Will be nice to see the lawsuits emanating as a result of the lack of adequate prosecution on this case. Hope all the team of prosecutors get the DP themselves for their documented crimes against victims. We miss you Caylee, too bad you went into the pool when you were told not to. Caylee drowned in the pool and George and Casey did things to throw off the investigation, which under the situation of the abuse, appears quite reasonable. Clearly and certainly no murder ever took place in this case.

  7. tess said

    Thanks for that explanation. I wasn’t clear as to the reason for the “proffer” at this point. I tend to agree with Kim Rock about the trouble for George with both Casey and Cindy. I think this might have been done to demonstrate that he was done being taken advantage of. I also thought it was interesting that there were so many shovels in the shed, so what was the whole shovel borrowing incident about. I heard somewhere that there is a 5 page letter that Casey wrote to another inmate in jail about the “molestation” issues in her life. Will that inmate come into court as another “proffer” or a witness? There is another sidebar as I write this. Didn’t judge Ito have the record for sidebars? It will be broken. I have to go out this afternoon, I will look forward to your take on the rest of the day.
    Tess

    • anygirl said

      The shovels were in a locked shed. Maybe Casey could not get the lock off, or she wanted to have Tony there to do the actual breaking into the shed. Her mind does work in a very devious way.

  8. Skweekie said

    sensational recap as usual

  9. Simply Unbelievable said

    The defense strategy seems to be to cause as many disruptions as possible and confuse the daylights out of everyone. Is anyone really this incompetent? The defense doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on as the solid evidence is overwhelmingly against Casey. OB is doing all he can in this situation: pound on the table as hard as he can. I’m sure the jury is slowly but surely recognizing his antics and everything will backfire.

  10. I.dont.get.it.either said

    Thank you! I don’t understand the significance of the freaking gas cans…AT ALL! George has a particular brand of duct tape in his garage that he may have used for any number of things…who doesn’t? It made sense to me that if the little cap was missing from the gas can (more likely than not on anything that old) he would cover the hole with duct tape. Casey lived with George in his house and had equal access to anything in it (actually MORE since she was the only unemployed member of the family and had all day every day to do as she pleased.) So she backed into the garage, grabbed Caylee’s blanket and a heart sticker out of her room, a laundry bag from the laundry room, and trash bags and duct tape from the garage. Why does it have to have ANYthing to do with George??? He later used the same duct tape to make missing child posters while trying to find Caylee, not knowing her remains would be found months later with duct tape wrapped around the skull. If he was trying to “distance himself” and avoid culpability, why the hell would he go out in public, where there would surely be cameras, with the “murder weapon”….??? I just don’t get it…. I just don’t get why this theory makes any sense to anyone.

    So I’m left scratching my head and wanting to scream every minute of every HOUR spent talking about the stupid gas cans. (But oh, yes… I still watch!)

  11. michellefrommadison said

    Full and total acquittal if Justice prevails.

  12. Leeann said

    Beautiful recap, will stay tuned……Thanks!

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