Anthony trial recesses after attorneys’ dispute
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The judge in the murder trial of a Casey Anthony scolded prosecutors and defense attorneys Monday, warning them they may face punishment when the trial concludes, then he abruptly halted proceedings for the day to give both sides more time to sort out issues with witnesses.
One of the major disputes involves a defense witness who took the stand over the weekend, but neither prosecutors nor the judge knew what he was going to say. With the jury outside of the courtroom still waiting to hear testimony on Day 23 of the trial, Judge Belvin Perry said he was tired of the infighting.
“There has been gamesmanship on both sides,” Perry said. “... Obviously there is a friction between attorneys. That’s something I guess the Florida bar will deal with. And at the conclusion of this trial, the court will deal with violations that may have occurred.”
Anthony, 25, is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter during the summer of 2008. She has pleaded not guilty. The defense says the girl drowned in her grandparents’ swimming pool while the state says she was suffocated by duct tape being placed over her nose and mouth. If convicted, Anthony could get the death penalty.
The judge highlighted the discord between attorneys when he asked prosecutor Jeff Ashton and defense attorney Jose Baez to look at the clock in the courtroom and tell him what time it was. Ashton said “9:25” and Baez “9:26.”
“That shows the two of you won’t agree on anything or ever interpret things the same way,” Perry said.
The defense was about to call forensic anthropologist William Rodriguez to the witness stand Monday when the prosecution asked the judge for more time to go over a deposition he gave this past weekend.
Rodriguez was supposed to testify Saturday, but he was interrupted after prosecutors said he started talking about information that was not previously disclosed to the state. Perry wound up granting the state time to depose him and admonished lead defense attorney Jose Baez for violating a January court order that made it mandatory for expert witnesses to submit preliminary reports on their testimony.
Ashton said Monday the next expert Baez planned to call submitted only a summary report without any clear opinions. Ashton also said he planned to officially file for sanctions against Baez.
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