Baez contended that Casey’s inexplicable behavior was a result of her own childhood trauma. Both Casey’s father, George Anthony, and brother, Lee Anthony, had sexually abused her, Baez alleged, and she had been struggling ever since. What happened to Caylee was just another secret she felt pressured to keep after a lifetime of hiding things, the attorney said.
Countering the prosecution’s claim of cold-blooded murder, Baez said that Caylee had drowned on her grandfather’s watch and George frightened Casey by telling her she’d go to jail for the rest of her life. He told his daughter that he’d take care of it, Baez alleged.
The defense also suggested that the utility worker who found Caylee’s remains in December 2008 had actually done so months earlier but held onto them and then put them where they were ultimately found to attract attention. (The man denied any wrongdoing whatsoever and later sued Casey for defamation; a judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to take the complaint to trial and an appeals court upheld the decision.)
Both from the witness stand and talking to the media, George adamantly denied ever abusing his daughter and testified that he didn’t know anything had happened to Caylee until the day she was reported missing.
Tony Lazzaro, the boyfriend Casey was living with when Caylee disappeared, stated in a deposition that Casey had mentioned being physically abused by her father. Casey’s ex-fiancé Jesse Grund testified without the jury present that Lee had groped Casey once while she slept and she didn’t want her brother near Caylee.
Lee denied ever being inappropriate with his sister and, when it was his turn to testify, painted a picture of Casey as an unstable liar who refused to admit at first that her daughter was missing.