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Legal Analyst and former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey was interviewed about the Casey Anthony story.

"Don’t be surprised if the defense continues to argue that the remains were in effect deposited there sometime after Casey was available. That’s what forensic experts are for. This is going to be dueling CSI and this wooded area is going to be the battleground for the innocence or guilt of Casey Anthony."

Kendall Coffey
Legal Analyst


Aired AUGUST 20, 2009 5:03 PM


Kendall Coffey interview HLN Prime News Live: Casey Anthony


MICHAEL GALANOS: We have some urgent news that could be a huge blow to Casey Anthony’s defense. The 23-year old sits in jail in Orlando accused of first-degree murder in the death of her only daughter little Caylee. Just released today new photos of the crime scene taken a month before Caylee’s body was found in December and they show standing water throughout the area, green foliage, a wall of that, all signs that (1) searchers would have had a hard time finding Caylee’s body and (2) it’s looking less likely that someone could have planted Caylee’s body there. The mom, Casey, sat in jail. We’ll take your calls as always. Joining us to talk about this is former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey. On the phone with us is Tim Miller, Director for Texas Equusearch. And also joining us is Drew Petrimoulx, Reporter, WDBO Radio in Orlando.

Alright, here’s what happened. Tim, I’ll start with you. You guys hold a press conference. You’re showing photos. Did I describe it right? You’re showing the foliage, the standing water, basically laying out there – it would not have been easy to find little Caylee, correct?

TIM MILLER: Yes, I think it was literally next to impossible. I mean there certainly was standing water that was covering any bag or anybody or anything and that’s why I made the decisions that I made before that I felt as though if little Caylee was deceased that it’s going to be a tiny little skeleton over there and we were not going to take a chance on a 4-wheeler going over it, a horse stepping on it or even a ground searcher and I still think it was the greatest decision - one of the wisest decisions I made in any searches - because if that were to happen it probably would have pushed that little body down in the mud and destroyed anything and the little body still never ever be found so we searched everything and actually the reason - one of the big reasons the photos were taken before we actually did this search is we went ahead and we flew over every area that we searched before. Every area we had any interest in and that was an area we had a lot of interest in and law enforcement had a lot of interest in it. So we could compare those areas what they looked like then compared to what they looked like when we searched the first time and I even made that statement I think we were even too premature to come back now that these conditions were even anywhere near what I’d like them to be. I think we all did a good job.

MICHAEL GALANOS: In Casey Anthony’s defense they want you to testify right Tim?

TIM MILLER: They do want me to testify and you know there’s a hearing tomorrow on that and it’s not one of the things that I’m excited about testifying about. It’s going to take up a lot of time.

MICHAEL GALANOS: But you’re going to answer the questions?

TIM MILLER: Certainly.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Let’s bring in Kendall Coffey, former U.S. Attorney. Kendall, what’s Casey Anthony’s defense going for here by getting Tim Miller out there and questioning Tim and Texas Equusearch and the search efforts for little Caylee?

KENDALL COFFEY: Well, obviously what they hope would be the home run was some ability to argue that the area had been searched after the time that Casey Anthony was incarcerated and the body wasn’t found and that therefore must have been planted there sometime after the fact. Obviously if the area was covered in water, there’s not much they can make about the fact a search would not have disclosed the remains. But don’t be surprised if the defense continues to argue that the remains were in effect deposited there sometime after Casey was available. That’s what forensic experts are for. This is going to be dueling CSI and this wooded area is going to be the battleground for the innocence or guilt of Casey Anthony.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Okay, let me stay with you Kendall. I hate to bring this up. This is so gruesome but, you know, we had reports that foliage was going through the skeletal remains of little Caylee. Doesn’t that tell us right there that body’s been there all along?

KENDALL COFFEY: It certainly strongly suggests it. But you and I have seen what experts can do and because of the duration of time that the remains were there – months and months – we all recall the controversy about how in August it was reported and nothing was done. But because of the length of time and the open questions and all the defense needs to do is raise questions, their end game is reasonable doubt. In that instance, they’re gonna find some issues to raise even though I’ve got to say that some of the most recent disclosures are certainly not helpful to the defense.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Yeah, let’s bring in Drew Petrimoulx. Drew, I want to ask you about this and then we’ll get Tim back in as well. Today’s press conference held by Texas Equusearch, George Anthony barged in on it? What do we know about that?

DREW PETRIMOULX: Yeah, kind of shocking development that happened today. Towards the end of the press conference where attorney Mark Nejay was showing all these pictures – aerial photos taken of that location. George Anthony stormed in and demanded that Mark Nejay talk with him in another room. He actually went in there with George’s attorney Brad Conway. They talked I understand for about thirty minutes. When they came out they seemed to have settled whatever the problem was – appeared that somehow Casey Anthony’s lawyer gave George some faulty information, he came in mad but it seemed at the end of that meeting that they had everything straightened out.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Drew, do you know what that bad info was? Any idea?

DREW PETRIMOULX: They actually would not speak about what that is. I guess you could ask Mark Nejay about that.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Is Mark with us guys?

MARK NEJAY: This is Mark Nejay.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Hey Mark we were just talking about George Anthony barging in on today’s press conference to talk directly to you. What did he want?

MARK NEJAY: Well, you’ve got a grief stricken grandfather who’s lost his granddaughter and apparently had gotten a phone call from his daughter Casey Anthony’s attorney and I think he was just confused and we spent some time with him and explained exactly what was occurring and how his instructions had always been - he wants to find out what happened to his granddaughter wherever the roads may lead. So once I was able to share that with him, that showed him what the photographs and some of the other information was suggesting, he became in fact appreciative. It’s tough, it’s sad but I’m not going to be faulting any grandparent in his position or any parent in his position. He had a misunderstanding and he acted on it and then listened and Brad Conway, his attorney, came in and after about a half an hour I think he had a full understanding and then we hugged each other and we moved forward. I’m okay with it, it was rather startling of course. We’re hoping that people do understanding that these are not lessons that you learn in school or anything and God help anybody who ever had to endure what he did. We’re just being understanding of it and understanding is just part of the process that he’s having to find himself going through.

MICHAEL GALANOS: No, at the end of the day that’s a great point and this is a grandfather who lost his beloved little Caylee and his daughter is accused in her murder. Guys let’s take a break and your phone calls…….

Welcome back to Prime News on HLN. Keeping you updated on the latest developments in the Casey Anthony case…. Let’s go to the phones…….

Linda from Texas: “When Caylee was first missing for the first 30 days and there was a smell in the car, I’m wondering if Casey, to her defense, had ever mentioned that somebody else might have driven that car?”

Linda, good question. To my knowledge the answer to that is no. That it was only Casey driving the car. Kendall, we followed this one. You have any knowledge of that one – whether or not someone else drove the car in those 30 days besides Casey?

KENDALL COFFEY: They have not made that allegation yet. But you can expect that during a trial, they will ask plenty of questions suggesting how we know someone else didn’t drive the car - an example of how you can just try to plant questions and try to plant seeds of doubt out there.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Right and reasonable doubt. That’s what they’d be going for. But I would have thought we would have heard something about that had someone else driven that vehicle.

KENDALL COFFEY: Has not been raised yet as far as I know.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Okay good call there by Linda. Kendall, We’ve got defense motions coming down the pike. They want delays the way I’m understanding it. How long can this thing be delayed? Are these legit reasons for delay? What are you seeing here?

KENDALL COFFEY: Well, you know they’re certainly looking at hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents in terms of what’s legitimate. There’s judges that could get this to trial in early 2010. Not easy to do it. But remember we’ve got a giant question still pending. Where does this case get tried. I mean she has already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion in the Orlando area. It’s got to be moved somewhere else in my opinion. One of the suggestions has been down here in Miami-Dade.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Yeah, let’s bring in Drew Petrimoulx, Reporter, WDBO Radio. Drew, what are you hearing about these delays? What’s their beef? Why do they want it delayed and what’s the earliest this trial could start?

DREW PETRIMOULX: They just brought in a new death-penalty qualified lawyer and she’s going to have to pour over all these documents now so they say just the shear amount of documents and research they have to do will require them to delay this at least until next year. So you know the whole question here is when does this fraud trial going to take place? Is it going to be before the murder trial or after? In Florida the victim of the fraud trial actually has a right to a speedy trial. It is trumped by the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. So there’s just so many issues for the judge in this case to take into count tomorrow and he’s going to have to make a big decision because if that fraud trial happens before her murder trial, Lord only knows what can come out that will then be applied to her murder trial. It’s a big decision tomorrow for the judge.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Kendall, 15 seconds. Does the fraud trial happen before the murder trial?

KENDALL COFFEY: Absolutely not. Murder is so much more significant.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Yeah, we would think. Alright, great conversation guys. Thanks so much.