‘Enough is enough;’ attorneys argue as case closes

By Nikki Namdar

Special to Valencia Voice

A heated argument between lawyers delayed closing arguments in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony trial Sunday.

Lead defense attorney Jose Baez caught prosecutor Jeff Ashton snickering at him during the defense’s closing statements. Baez angrily pointed towards Ashton, calling him a “laughing man” in the presence of the jury. Ashton’s objection was sustained by Chief Judge Belvin Perry.

An unhappy Perry stopped the proceeding, excused the jury momentarily, and reminded Ashton of the court rules about facial gestures. Perry observed a clip of Ashton laughing, hand over his mouth. The judge said both attorneys violated the order of the court, saying, “enough is enough.”

“There has been this accusation throughout the trial,” Perry said. “I don’t watch you. I assume you are all professional that I don’t have to watch. Maybe I was misinformed when I thought you all were following the law.”

After seeing the footage of his actions, Ashton made claims that he was just “smiling behind his hand,” and was not at all laughing or shaking his head.

“I was making sure nothing I said or did was seen by the jury,” he said, following up with an apology.

Baez also apologized and said that after working with Ashton for three years, he did not wish for his colleague to be held in contempt because of the already “serious nature” of this case.

“If it happens again, the remedy will be exclusion of that attorney,” Perry warned.

Baez continued with his closing statements, arguing the state did not provide any proof that Casey murdered her little girl, but that everything led to her father, George Anthony, as mentioned in the opening statements.

“He refused to be upfront and honest,” said Baez.  “He doesn’t have an ounce of paternal instinct.”

He claimed that because of the photograph of Caylee opening the sliding door that leads to the outside of the Anthony home and the series of photographs of her climbing the ladder into the swimming pool, the jury can believe the cause of a death to be an accidental drowning.

“We want you to base your verdict on evidence, not emotion,” Baez said, adding that the state did not provide any evidence to make Casey the murderer in the case, but “pasted her as a slut, liar and party girl.”

“They want to give the who without the how, where, and why,” he said.

Ashton provided the state’s closing arguments. He began by talking about parenthood as he showed the last photograph of Caylee taken, on June 16, 2008, and a home video of Casey playing with the victim.

“It’s easy to be a parent when you’re playing with your child,” stated Ashton. “But we all know being a parent is so much more than playing. Being a parent is about sacrifice.”

Ashton said that Casey had a choice; to sacrifice between her normal life, where she partied with friends and boyfriends, or motherhood and the responsibilities of taking care of Caylee.

“The choice she made was her daughter,” he said, claiming Casey sacrificed her daughter for a life of freedom she so wanted greatly.

Ashton alleged to the jurors that Anthony murdered her daughter by placing duct tape over the child’s nose and mouth, suffocating her. He claimed Casey’s MySpace password, timer55, was a countdown from June 16, 2008 until Caylee’s birthday; the amount of days Casey could stall her mother with lies.

“When Casey wants to do what Casey wants to do, she finds a way,” said Ashton. “Caylee died because she could not breathe because her mom decided the life she wanted was more important.”