Judge says Casey Anthony must answer limited questions

Friday , January 20, 2012 - 5:54 AM

Anthony Colarossi

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orange Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon has issued an order stating Casey Anthony must answer limited questioning from Texas EquuSearch attorneys.

The order stems from a closed-door hearing held Tuesday on the issue of whether Anthony, 25, should be made to answer a series of questions posed by TES attorneys.

Munyon ruled that Anthony does not have to answer questions that might incriminate her at a retrial while she appeals her July convictions for lying to law enforcement.

However, Munyon found that two Texas EquuSearch requests for admissions would not implicate Anthony, and she ordered her to provide responses within 10 days. The order was dated Tuesday, but hit the court file Wednesday.

"Because the answers to all but two of the requests could provide a link in the chain of evidence at any retrial of the conviction currently on appeal, the defendant has properly asserted her Fifth Amendment privilege to all but two," Munyon ruled.

TES organized searches for Caylee Anthony in 2008 after Casey Anthony told authorities her toddler was kidnapped by a baby sitter. The group is suing Anthony, trying to recoup money it spent on those efforts.

Anthony's civil attorney, Charles Greene, has repeatedly argued that Anthony should not be made to answer questions while her appeal is ongoing.

Casey Anthony's criminal defense lawyer Jose Baez stated during her murder trial that the child actually drowned in her family's backyard pool. Also, recently released depositions of mental health experts show that Casey Anthony told her doctors that her daughter appeared to have died in a drowning.

She also implicated her father in the child's death, according to those two doctors.

TES attorney Marc Wites said Anthony may now either admit to the two questions, deny them or appeal the judge's order. The answers will come in written form, he said.

The first TES request for admission Anthony must respond to states: "Admit that you did not observe or hear George Anthony call 911 at any time to report that he or you had discovered that Caylee Marie Anthony had drowned in the swimming pool at your parents' house on or about June 16, 2008."

The second request for admission Anthony must answer states: "Admit that you were aware in September 2008 and October 2008 that EquuSearch was conducting searches for your daughter."

Munyon's order says Anthony does not -- at this time -- have to respond to a request for admission that she met with Tim Miller of Texas EquuSearch at her parents' home in August 2008. Nor does she have to admit or deny that her parents were present when she met with Miller.

She also doesn't have to answer separate questions posed by TES asking her to identify everyone present at her parents' home each time Miller visited and asking her to give the name, address and phone number of Caylee's biological father.

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