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Fla. Police Tortured Casey Anthony, Lawyer Says

1:18 PM, Jun 28, 2012   |    comments
ORLANDO, FL - JULY 17: Casey Anthony leaves with her attorney Jose Baez from the Booking and Release Center at the Orange County Jail on July 17, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. After she was acquitted of murdering her daughter Caylee Anthony, it was unknown where Casey Anthony was going after the release. (Photo by Red Huber-Pool/Getty Images)
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By Christina Ng, ABC News

Casey Anthony's jailers took her in shackles to a room where she was to be surprised by news coverage when police discovered her daughter's decomposed body, a tactic that her lawyer claims in a new book was "torture."


Attorney Jose Baez writes that police hoped to get a revealing reaction, possibly a confession, out of Anthony by shocking her with the news story and refused to let her lawyer see Anthony while this was going on.

"They sent someone to Casey's cell," Baez writes in his upcoming book. "They shackled her legs and hands in chains, marched her to the medical unit, sat her down where there were several correctional officers and a couple of nurses standing around watching her, and forced her to watch the breaking news that police had found Caylee's remains so they could record her reaction."

The grainy video shows Anthony sitting in a waiting room. There is no audio, but after she appears to hear something -- reportedly the televised news that a child's body was found in a swampy area near the Anthony home -- she puts her hands and forearms across her stomach, and begins to slowly rock backwards and forwards. Her breathing seems to quicken and her chest can be seen rising and falling.

The remains were not identified as Caylee's until more than a week later. In September 2011, a Florida judge unsealed for public view the tape that had previously been sealed in order for Anthony to get a fair trial.

On July 5, 2011, Anthony was acquitted of charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter for the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony. She was convicted of lying to law enforcement.

The circumstances surrounding the tape, which a Florida judge called "highly inflammatory," are detailed in Baez's book "Presumed Guilty, Casey Anthony: The Inside Story," set to be released on July 3.

"As soon as the police got to the site where Caylee's remains lay, Commander Matt Irwin, the head of missing person's unit, came up with the bright idea of calling the jail and asking if there was a room where they could take Casey and videotape her reaction to their finding Caylee's remains," Baez wrote.

Irwin was told Anthony could be taken to the medical unit where there was a TV and a camera that could record her reaction, according to Baez who claims police were hoping that Anthony would "say something, maybe flip out and confess."

Baez said he had rushed to the jail to see his client in hopes of breaking the news to her. But when he arrived, authorities would not let him through the gate. He was told that Anthony was being taken to the medical unit and he would have to wait to see her.

Anthony was inside being shown news coverage of the discovery of Caylee's remains.

"Meanwhile, oblivious to what they were doing, I was outside trying to get in while they were torturing her," he wrote. "Clearly this was a violation of her right to counsel and what two of the correctional officers would later testify to be cruel and unusual punishment."

"To this day it was one of the cruelest and most disgusting things I have ever seen the cops do," Baez wrote.

Authorities later said that they had taken Anthony to the medical unit out of concern for her health and well-being. Nearly an hour after he arrived at the courthouse, Baez said he was taken to Anthony.

Casey Anthony Enjoyed Being in Jail, Her Lawyer Writes

"I apologized to her for not getting there sooner," he wrote. "I asked if she was okay and she said, 'I'll be all right.' Caylee was dead, and she was in mourning, and it was one of those moments where you just don't know what to say."

Baez told her what he knew from police and an officer handed her a sedative pill with some water. Baez told her he wanted to stay with her, but that she would need him more outside than by her side.

"'I understand,' Casey said. 'I hope this pill will make me sleep.' She began to weep," he wrote.

In the book, Baez mentions multiple times that Anthony was "almost ecstatic" to be in jail, which baffled him for a long time.

"Unlike the rest of my clients, Casey enjoyed [emphasis his] being in jail. When I came to see her, she was always upbeat, never depressed," Baez wrote. "She would come in feeling chipper, as though she was at a picnic rather than a jail. This, as much as anything else, really struck me as being odd. Only later would it turn out to make perfect sense."

Baez later wrote that Anthony was happy in jail because "she had structure and she was safe" there, as opposed to her home, where he claimed that Anthony lived in fear of her father. During the trial, Anthony and Baez accused Anthony's father George Anthony of sexually molesting Anthony when she was a child. George Anthony denied the accusations.

Anthony has been in hiding since she was acquitted last summer. She is on probation in Florida for a check fraud conviction, but the court ordered her location to be kept secret because of death threats she has received. Her probation ends Aug. 21, 2012.

ABC News

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