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article imageCasey Anthony files for bankruptcy, brings civil suits to a halt

By Yukio Strachan     Jan 27, 2013 in Crime
Tampa - In a surprise move late Friday night, Casey Anthony filed for bankruptcy; a move some experts speculate is a tactic to avoid facing the civil cases against her pending in state court.
As Digital Journal reported Saturday, Anthony sought Chapter 7 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa on Friday.
In the 60-page bankruptcy filing, Anthony states she owes nearly $800,000 to about 80 creditors but only has $1,084 to her name. She has no income.
"There are no contracts, no movie or book deals," said Anthony's civil attorney, Charles Greene. "She needs closure in this matter in order to move on with her life."
"These are the things holding me back," Anthony, 26, told CBS 5 late Friday. "This is the key for me to move forward."
According to one criminal defense attorney, he said such a filing was the only thing Anthony could do. “Wiping her debt away through bankruptcy was inevitable,” John Contini, a Florida attorney, told “Without the protection of the federal Bankruptcy court, Casey Anthony would never be truly set free.”
Anthony's civil cases
The decision to file for bankruptcy does not only have the potential to give Anthony a fresh financial start, but it also brings Anthony's civil cases currently under way in Florida state court to a complete halt, including a defamation suit from Zenaida Gonzalez.
Gonzalez claims Anthony ruined her reputation when she told Orange County Sheriff's detectives in July 2008 the last time she saw her 2-year-old daughter was when she dropped Caylee off with a nanny named "Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez," the Orlando Sentinel reported.
But detectives said "Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez" could not have kidnapped little Caylee Marie, because no such nanny existed. Gonzalez eventually filed suit against Anthony.
During Anthony's murder trial, defense attorney José Baez said Anthony fabricated the story about "Zanny the nanny." Baez argued that Caylee accidentally drowned in the Anthony family pool on June 16, 2008, and that Casey Anthony's father, George, covered up the death. Baez said her father covered up the death just as George covered up his rape of his daughter, Casey from the age of 8. Thus, Baez said Anthony's fictitious "Zanny the nanny" story was an extension of the culture of lying and deceit in the Anthony family home.
Casey Anthony with legal team  August 2012
Casey Anthony with legal team, August 2012
Screenshot via CBS 5 video
Gonzalez's attorney, Matt Morgan, told Central Florida News 13 he believes Anthony's latest move is an attempt to postpone the defamation suit. But that won't happen, he pledged.
"This most recent filing appears to be yet another calculated delay tactic," Morgan said. "We are not deterred and will stay the course."
Morgan said although Anthony has no money, he still believes the recent filing will not affect their defamation case.
"We believe that at some point in the future, Casey Anthony will profit from a book, movie, or other related deal,” Morgan said. “It makes logical sense for her to have all of her liabilities discharged before she profits."
Roy Kronk, the former meter reader who found Caylee's body, is also suing Anthony for defamation. Kronk said his name was severely damaged when Anthony's attorneys cast him as a possible killer after he found Caylee's remains.
"The lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Kronk always realized that collecting money would be difficult or impossible, but it didn't stop (us) from filing suit to prove that Mr. Kronk had nothing to do with the murder of Caylee Anthony," said Kronk’s attorney Howard Marks.
The third suit is by Texas EquuSearch, a volunteer ground search and rescue organization, wants to be repaid the $110,000 they say they spent on multiple searches for Caylee, a child Casey claimed was alive and missing.
Anthony: "We keep fighting" after two convictions tossed
The bankruptcy filing came the same day Florida's 5th District Court of Appeal tossed out two of the four misdemeanor convictions against Anthony.
Though a jury found Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child in July 2011, jurors convicted her of four counts of lying to law enforcement, and her attorneys appealed those convictions.
It remains to be seen if Anthony will appeal the remaining two convictions to the Florida Supreme Court next.
But if Anthony's words to Attorney Cheney Mason is any indication of her desire for vindication, she certainly will appeal. Mason told CNN that when he called his client to share the good news about the ruling Friday, that two of the four convictions had been overturned, Anthony said: "We keep fighting."
[Click here to read the court document (PDF)]
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