Lindsay Lohan tipped to play party mum acquitted of murder
It got as much publicity as the OJ Simpson case in the United States and the acquittal last night of single mum Casey Anthony on the murder of her daughter, is dividing spectators in just the same way.
As troubled actress Lindsay Lohan was suggested today to play troubled mum Anthony, legal experts continued debating the sensational verdict of the jury.
Former Michigan Prosecutor Carl Marlinga said the verdict was: 'Like the OJ Simpson case - a clear failure of the jury system. ''Just because we say the jury system we have is the best, that doesn’t make it perfect,” he said.
On Fox, MSNBC, CNN and local channels the trial has been covered wall-to-wall over the last 35 days. Few legal experts predicted the acquittal of Anthony (25) for the murder of her daughter Caylee (2).
She wept last night as the judge read the verdict, which jurors reached after less than 11 hours of deliberation over two days. She was charged with first-degree murder, which could have brought the death penalty if she had been convicted.
Instead, she was convicted of only four counts of lying to investigators looking into the June 2008 disappearance of her daughter Caylee. Her body was found in the woods six months later and a medical examiner was never able to determine how she died.
"This jury ignored the scientific evidence," said New York lawyer Susan Moss. "Apparently, they found the only 12 people who still think the world is flat."
The jurors in the case declined to speak to the media as did four alternate jurors.
The fifth, Russell Huekler, agreed with the verdict "wholeheartedly."
"The prosecution did not prove their case," Huekler said. "The big question that was not answered: How did Caylee die?"
Anthony will be sentenced by the judge in Orlando, Florida, tomorrow and most commentators were surprised that her defence team did not seek immediate release from jail on bail for her. She has served three years in prison awaiting trial and is unlikely to get more jail time for lying.
"I would be surprised if she doesn't walk out of the courtroom," said Atlanta defence lawyer Penny Douglas Furr. "She has served so much time already. I don't think the judge will make her serve any more time. The real question now is, what will she do next."
So what now for Casey Anthony? You can bet your bottom dollar there will be a book and possible movie deals, with some already predicting that Lindsay Lohan would be ideal to play the role of the troubled mother.
And there will be no problems legally for Anthony to profit from the details of this case. She is free to cash in on deals for movies, books or interviews, say the analysts.
This is because she has been acquitted and so the Son of Sam laws - laws designed to keep criminals from earning money from their crimes - do not apply.
"Why can't she make money off of her story?" asked Drew Findling, another defence lawyer. "You've seen so many cases where witnesses for the prosecution have profited from the case. Look at the O.J. Simpson case and how the prosecutor, who lost the case, wrote books and made money afterwards. So why can't Casey do it?"
On one chat show this week, it was suggested that Casey is set up to make over a million dollars off the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
Facebook and Twitter are agog with speculation about what happens next in the soap opera case.
The trial became a macabre tourist attraction in Orlando. People camped outside for seats in the courtroom, and scuffles broke out among those desperate to watch the drama unfold.
But outside the courthouse yesterday, there was no unanimous outpouring of sympathy for her as many in the crowd of 500 reacted with anger, chanting, "Justice for Caylee!" One man yelled, "Baby killer!"
The seven -week proceedings featured allegations of sexual abuse, questions regarding Anthony's competence and various theories on what happened to Caylee.
The prosecution's case was that Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious and then duct-taped her mouth and nose to suffocate her. They set out a case where the mother put the child's body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it.
Anthony's defence attorneys took the line that Caylee was not murdered at all. They said the child drowned in the Anthony's above-ground pool on July 16, and that Anthony and her father, George, panicked upon finding her there and tried to cover up the death.
Jose Baez, Anthony's attorney, also alleged that her father sexually abused her from the age of 8 and she had been taught to conceal her pain. The upbringing helped to explain some of Anthony's bizarre behaviour during the time her daughter was missing, he argued.
Further into the testimony it was claimed that Anthony was not looking frantically for her missing child as she later relayed in her account to police.
Instead she moved out of her parents' home and stayed with her then-boyfriend, Tony Lazzaro. She also got a tattoo saying "Bella Vita" - Italian for "beautiful life" - and went shopping, witnesses said. She also partied at Orlando nightclubs and participated in a "hot body" contest at one point.
Her father George Anthony denied the molestation claim in testimony, and stressed:, "I would never do anything like that to my daughter."
During the hearing, the distress experienced by Anthony's family was evident and both her parents sobbed on the stand at times recalling their granddaughter.
George Anthony also broke down as he recalled his January 2009 suicide attempt in testimony, which came shortly after Caylee's remains were identified.
After the verdict, the parents released a statement saying they wished to "move forward privately" and requested the media respect their privacy.
"While the family may never know what has happened to Caylee Marie Anthony, they now have closure for this chapter of their life. They will now begin the long process of rebuilding their lives," the parents said.
If Anthony is released tomorrow , it is still not known if she plans to rebuild her relationship with her parents.
The verdict could divide people for years to come, just as the Simpson case in the mid-1990s did, with some believing Anthony got away with murder.