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Published: Wednesday, 7/6/2011

Casey Anthony juror breaks silence

NEW YORK TIMES

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A juror in the Casey Anthony trial broke her silence Wednesday and said the jury was emotionally shattered by its own verdict of not guilty.

The juror, Jennifer Ford, a 32-year-old nursing student, said that jurors were “sick to their stomachs,” ABC News reported.

‘’I did not say she was innocent,” said Ford, who was juror No. 3. “I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be.”

After acquitting Anthony of the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, Ford said jurors felt so overwhelmed after issuing the verdict that they could not speak with reporters.

‘’We were crying, and not just the women,” she added. “It was emotional, and we weren’t ready. We wanted to do it with integrity and not contribute to the sensationalism of the trial.”

Ford described the other six women and five men on the panel as a “great bunch of people.”

The jurors, from Pinellas County, spent nearly six weeks living out their own brand of isolation in a hotel in Orlando, in Orange County. Publicity in the city had been so pervasive that the judge felt compelled to import a jury from another county. Jurors’ rooms were watched by guards.But, Ford said, “There was high morale,” adding: “We all joked. We are like a big group of cousins.”

The interview with Ford came as the television networks jousted Wednesday for interviews with jurors and lawyers in the case, emphasizing that they would not pay for the interviews.

Networks are known to license photos and videos to woo guests to their shows, a practice that some say amounts to de facto payments for interviews. Sometimes the licensing deals are lined up through brokers or other representatives.

In an interview at her home Wednesday night, Lynn Ford, Jennifer Ford’s mother, said ABC did not pay Ford but treated her and four others to a trip to Disney World. ABC is a unit of the Walt Disney Co.

Earlier Wednesday, a representative of another juror contacted each of the broadcast news networks, offering an interview contingent on a mid-five-figure fee.

The networks reported being approached by Rick French, a publicist from North Carolina. One network executive said the fee being asked was $50,000. French did not return phone calls Wednesday afternoon.

NBC’s “Today” show and ABC’s “The View” each interviewed Jeff Ashton, the 30-year veteran prosecutor in the case. He said on “The View” that he was “shocked” by the not-guilty verdict because jury deliberations were so swift and seamless.

“I think ultimately it came down to the evidence,” he said. “I think ultimately it came down to cause of death.”

Anthony, 25, who was also found not guilty of aggravated manslaughter and felony child abuse, will be sentenced Thursday morning for lesser crimes. The jury found her guilty of four counts of lying to police investigators, which carries a maximum of a one-year prison sentence for each count.

But because Anthony has served more than 2 1/2 years in jail, mostly in isolation, she will most likely be sentenced to time served by Judge Belvin Perry Jr. and walk free from the Orlando courthouse.

Where Anthony will go next and whether she will ultimately publish her own account are the next big questions occupying those who had closely watched the three-year case.

Prosecutors argued that Anthony killed her child to be free of the obligations of motherhood, preferring instead a carefree life of boyfriends and bars. They said she dosed Caylee with chloroform, suffocated her with duct tape and dumped her body in the woods.

But medical examiners could never determine how and when Caylee died because her remains were nothing but bones when she was found. Prosecutors also had no solid physical evidence or witnesses tying Anthony to the crime. Instead, they portrayed Anthony as a liar — a point her lawyer, Jose Baez, conceded — and a callous mother who partied after Caylee’s disappearance.



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