You still hear people today questioning why Cindy Anthony didn’t get charged with perjury for “lying” and saying that she did the chloroform search.  People, including the media, often point to the comments of Jeff Ashton and the visible shock of the prosecution team in court, but these facts just make what really happened even stranger.  People believe that Cindy Anthony never said that she did the searches before that day (many media outlets told people this as well) and many of those people blame Casey Anthony’s acquittal partly on this.  Media outlets, right after her testimony, even claimed that she “weakened” the first-degree murder charge because of her “brand new” testimony.  The thing that baffles me the most about this discussion was that Cindy Anthony always denied that she made a search on ‘how to make chloroform’, she just said that she made searches for chlorophyll and chloroform came up on the search results page.

On Good Morning America, June 24th, 2011, Nancy Grace, like most media “experts”, said that Cindy Anthony was just trying to save her daughter’s life and that the defense put her at risk for perjury charges.  “…If they have her computer records, they’re going to be able to show she was absolutely at work and if the defense set her up for a perjury charge, it’s on them…”  What Nancy Grace is referring to is that the defense brought out in testimony that Cindy Anthony said she did the chlorophyll searches that turned into chloroform.  Now, it is important to remember here how attorneys from both sides learn information.  They learn it through investigation and that mostly comes from talking to people.  In this case, the most important document to remember is the deposition.

Jeff Ashton, one of the prosecutors on the Casey Anthony case, was asked by NBC’s Today Show on July 6, 2011, after the verdict if there could be perjury charges against Cindy Anthony, he responded, “I think there could be. That will be a decision made by another branch of our office.”  He was also asked whether he would personally make that decision, he responded,  “I honestly don’t know. That would be a very, very difficult decision to make. As a prosecutor — I’ve been a prosecutor for 30 years — I hate to say this, but you’re somewhat accustomed to family members trying to help their fellow family members. So you’re kind of used to that.  This, of course, was a rather important, you know, deception, if you will, that obviously was proven to be so by the other evidence. What they do with it is going to be a difficult decision that I’m glad I don’t have to make.”

In several interviews after that, he implied that he had no idea that Cindy Anthony was going to say she made the chloroform “searches” (even though it is really only 1 search).  On the same day as the Today Show interview, People Magazine quoted Jeff Ashton as saying, “The main thing that went through my head was, ‘Why are you doing this now? Now I have to go through the process of impeaching your testimony.’ With the exception of that issue, Cindy had always been pretty honest about things.”  He also called her testimony that she did the searches, “annoying”.  Jeff Ashton also appeared on Dr. Drew’s show on HLN, that same day, and said that Cindy Anthony “had something for everyone.  Something for both sides…” And when Dr. Drew says that she “kind of pulled a fast one on you…” He doesn’t correct him.  Later in the interview, the following exchange is made:

  • PINSKY: Well, speaking of surprises and doing something, Cindy did a little something, something. She took the stand and said —
  • ASHTON: Oh, yes.
  • PINSKY: And said — you know, by the way, I looked up “chlorophyll” on Google. Have you done that?
  • ASHTON: No.
  • PINSKY: It prompts you immediately to chloroform.
  • ASHTON: Really?
  • PINSKY: It absolutely does. So, you know, it — I`m just saying, but it seemed to be untrue…

Then, Dr. Drew asks him about perjury and he responds the same way as earlier in the day, “she could be. That — that decision, if it is to be made, would be made within our office, but not by Linda or Frank or myself. You know, you don`t have the person who is invested in the case make that decision. And if it`s to be made, it would be made by some neutral person in another division in the office.  You know, it`s a question of whether it`s — whether the state is — whether it`s really justified, not just in the facts, but based on, you know, the circumstances. So, I don`t know what they`ll decide in that.”

Predictably, this testimony and series of interviews by Jeff Ashton sent a firestorm around social media.  There are huge problems with this, the largest being that he absolutely unequivocally did know, as could anyone else that actually read the discovery documents, because she told Linda Drane Burdick and him.  It’s just another lie perpetrated by him.  The defense attorneys only knew that Cindy Anthony claimed to have done the searches because she claimed that to the prosecution in her deposition with them.  That’s why they brought it out in testimony.  Had she changed her testimony and said she didn’t say that she did chloroform searches that would be perjury.  Many legal experts, including, Holly Hughes on CNN and HLN, told viewers that “they’ve got enough evidence to prove” perjury, but that it would look like nothing more than “sour grapes” to do so.  Watching “legal experts” on TV, I often wonder whether they actually read the documents they say they do.

If she and anyone else had actually read the State’s Deposition of Cindy Anthony on July 28, 2009 they would have seen the following exchange, starting on pg. 170:

  • Linda Drane Burdick:  Do you ever do Google searches on your computer —
  • Cindy Anthony:  Yes.
  • LDB:  — the desktop?
  • CA:  Yes.
  • LDB:  What sort of things —
  • CA:  I’d look up anything —
  • LDB:  do you search for?
  • CA:  — from medical, to vacation stuff, to, you know, anything.

  • LDB:  All right.  There is a search for how to make chloroform on your desktop computer.  Did you make that search?
  • CA:  I’m not sure.
  • LDB:  Why not?
  • CA:  Because I remember looking up chlorophyll back in March of last year and I am not sure if I looked up chloroform as well.  I looked up alcohol and several other things like that — like ethyl alcohol and peroxide, too. 
  • LDB:  Why?
  • CA:  I was researching things that — as far as the chlorophyll —
  • LDB:  Uh-huh.
  • CA:  — and possibly chloroform because of my animals because my Cocker — or my Yorkies would eat a lot of bamboo leaves and I know there’s chlorophyll in those leaves and they were getting sick, quite sick.  And I had previously lost two Cocker Spaniels, and I wanted to see if there was any tie.  I had never thought about that with the cancer and stuff that I lost the Cocker, so I started researching different things.  As far as the alcohol and peroxide, I researched just — I was looking through different things that was in our cabinets to make sure that there was nothing that we had in our cabinets that Caylee would get into because we didn’t keep, like, you know cleaning supplies in the bathrooms.  The only thing I kept in the bottom bathrooms that we had locked was alcohol and peroxide.  And I knew alcohol could be costly, but I wasn’t sure about the peroxide because I know you can gargle with it, and I know you can drink some peroxide, but I wanted to see how much could hurt, in case she ever got into anything.

  • LDB:  Okay.  Did you look up shovel —
  • CA:  No.
  • LDB:  — for any reason?
  • Ca:  No.
  • LDB:  Neck breaking?
  • CA:  No.
  • LDB:  Did you — do you believe that you could have accidentally looked up how to make chloroform?
  • CA:  I may have looked up the ingredients of chloroform.  I may have looked up the ingredients, but not how to make it.

CA:  And being a Latin student and knowing Latin, chloro, I wanted to see if there was any ties, if you had — if you could overdose on chlorophyll or if it would become like chloroform.  But there was no tie to that.

  • LDB:  All right.  How do you spell chlorophyll?
  • CA:  C-h-l-o-r-i-p-h-i-l, I believe.
  • LDB:  I’m sorry.  I missed that.  C-h-l-o?
  • CA:  C-h — yeah — l-o-r-i-p-h-i-l.
  • LDB:  All right.  Is that how you would have tried to put it in to a Google search phonetically?
  • CA:  C-h-o — yeah.  C-h-l-o-r-i-p-h-i-l.  I’m not a good speller.  Give me this. [Writing] Yeah.
  • [Attorney discussion about making spelling an exhibit attachment.]
  • CA:  And the good thing about Google, sometimes it says:  Did you mean —
  • LDB:  Yes.
  • CA:  — something else.  So you don’t have to be a good speller.
  • LDB:  What else would you have been searching at the same time?
  • CA:  I —
  • LDB:  Bamboo?
  • CA:  I have no idea.  I have no idea.  I don’t think so.

  • LDB:  Okay.  So you believe you may have searched the components —
  • CA:  Of Chlorophyll.
  • LDB:  — of chloroform?
  • CA:  I may have.
  • LDB:  But would not have entered in a search how to make —
  • CA:  No.
  • LDB:  — chloroform?
  • CA:  No.
  • LDB:  Okay.
  • CA:  Not unless the ingredients were mimicking the chlorophyll.  And I did not see that.

  • LDB:  [Pause] Did you ever try to make chloroform?
  • CA:  No. No. I couldn’t even tell you what the ingredients are for chloroform.  I’ve never worked with chloroform.
  • LDB:  Is there any medical use for chloroform that you’re aware of as a nurse?
  • CA:  Not that I would use.  I’ve never had to use it.  I’m sure there is.
  • LDB:  Okay.  Do you know then who searched for how to make chloroform?
  • CA:  No. I don’t…

This conversation ends on page 180.

On June 23, 2011 Cindy Anthony testified in front of the jury that she searched for “chloroform,” “alcohol,” “acetone,” “peroxide” and “inhalation.” She told jurors that she searched for chloroform because she suspected her smallest dog might be getting poisoned from eating leaves in the backyard. Her search started with “chlorophyll” and spiraled to “chloroform.”  Sound familiar?

  • LINDA DRANE-BURDICK, PROSECUTOR: Do you recall denying that you made any searches for how to make chloroform?
  • CINDY ANTHONY:  I didn’t look up how to make chloroform, I looked up chloroform.
  • DRANE-BURDICK: You suggested that the Google search engine asked you if you wanted to change the spelling of chlorophyll when you made this search, correct?
  • CINDY ANTHONY: Correct.
  • DRANE-BURDICK: Because you spelled chlorophyll wrong.
  • CINDY ANTHONY: Correct.
  • DRANE-BURDICK: Did you input the words into the Google search engine “How to make chloroform”?
  • CINDY ANTHONY: I don’t recall putting in “how to make chloroform,” but I did Google search chloroform. And we talked about it in my deposition.
  • DRANE-BURDICK: The question is — and it’s a yes or no — did you type into the search bar on Google “how to make chloroform”?
  • CINDY ANTHONY: I don’t recall typing in “how to make chloroform.” I recall typing in the word “chloroform.”
  • DRANE-BURDICK: Did you do 84 searches for the effects of chlorophyll on your animals?
  • CINDY ANTHONY: I didn’t do 84 searches of anything.

Linda Drane Burdick even says to Cindy Anthony on cross-examination “Is this something you recall now that you have changed your medication?” about her Internet testimony, insinuating that the testimony was new to prosecutors, which it wasn’t.

  • JOSE BAEZ: And all of this stuff about chlorophyll and chloroform — you had told the prosecutors about that back in 2009, did you not?
  • CINDY ANTHONY: Yes, I did.
  • JOSE BAEZ: Is this testimony anything new?
  • CINDY ANTHONY: No, sir. I did tell the detectives and I did tell the state’s attorney’s office about the searches. And they knew that I had searched for chlorophyll, as well.

Another piece of testimony was as follows:

  • DRANE-BURDICK:  Even though your work records established that you were working on March 21st of 2008, you were home between 2:16 and 2:28 PM?
  • CINDY ANTHONY:  It`s possible. I mean…
  • DRANE-BURDICK:  Were you or weren`t you?
  • CINDY ANTHONY:  I can`t tell exactly what time I went home.

ABC, Nancy Grace, and other news networks immediately reported that this information caught prosecutors off-guard, in contradiction to the deposition.  Nancy Grace even repeatedly insinuated, without any logic behind it, that Cindy Anthony would face 15 years behind bars and that the defense purposefully set her up for it.  This information also brings up questions as to why the prosecutors knowing it would be brought up in front of the jury acted blindsided?  Prosecutors hoped that the chloroform search (not 84, but 1) would show the jury premeditation, but if they knew for 2 years that Cindy Anthony said this and that she was at work at the time of the searches, then what was their strategy of impeaching their own witness?  Perhaps discrediting everything she was saying to the jury?  She was important to their case.  She said that the trunk smelled like a “dead body” and was emotional on the stand for the jury.  Was Burdick’s and Ashton’s strategy to make it look like Casey Anthony did the searches simply by impeaching Cindy Anthony who was the only other person to say that she may have done them?  Prove your case by process of elimination rather than reasonable doubt?

You can’t be charged with perjury if you say that you possibly did something and what you say exactly matches what you previously said in a sworn statement.  Perjury is proven by a discrepancy in evidence, including documented previous statements.  Prosecutors couldn’t prosecute Cindy Anthony, not because they felt bad for her or didn’t want to look like they were sore losers, but because she didn’t contradict her earlier testimony and she said that she was possibly home.  Cindy Anthony’s testimony became controversial and many people believe it was spur of the moment to “save” her daughter, despite the available evidence (above) to the contrary.  I don’t want to get into the “they only wanted to save their daughter” argument in this post, but Cindy Anthony clearly had done searches like that previously and just got her dates wrong, assuming the records are accurate.  She didn’t say she did all the searches and she denied doing the search “how to make chloroform”.  Given other parts of her testimony and actions, she was definitely not trying to save her daughter.

Cindy Anthony’s attorney, Mark Lippman, rejected all suggestions that she was lying to protect her daughter.  Sheriff Demings’ office took only a few hours to determine that Cindy Anthony could not be charged, seemingly just announcing the possibility to feed into the hype.  The easiest way to prove perjury (lying under oath) is to have documented evidence of a previous statement that was different.  In this case, people believe that Cindy Anthony lied about doing the searches and that the claim came out of nowhere.  Since we’ve already established that this claim didn’t come out of nowhere.  The only other way to prove that perjury occurred is to prove that the person didn’t do what they said they did.  The prosecution showed that her employment records say that she was at work and thus couldn’t have done the searches.  Now, would it have been a problem for perjury prosecution if the prosecution had known about her supposed perjury 2 years before prosecuting her?  The major issue here is that she said on the stand during cross-examination that it was possible she was home and that she couldn’t say for sure unless she had access to the computer at her former job.  It’s not perjury if you say that you think or it is possible you did something.

Another interesting tidbit is that after this testimony, the defense said the prosecution violated the discovery process by obtaining Cindy Anthony’s work records for their rebuttal case right after her testimony, in the middle of trial.  The judge said “everyone knew this was coming based on Ms. Anthony’s testimony.  I don’t think it was any big surprise.”  He allowed the prosecution to enter the evidence very late in the trial.  The trouble is that they knew since 2009 that she said she did these searches, so why didn’t they get that information then?  Why wait?

This is just another part of the mystery of why the public, media, and prosecution thought they had a slam dunk case.

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Comments
  1. I believe their hacking and “crowdsourcing” was what drove George to become suicidal. It seems people believe they can stalk these people for the rest of their lives because they raised a “monster.” These people are much more dangerous than Casey, imo. Really, who utilizes a garage sale to assume they can garner sympathy among the journalist wannabes that want to hawk their expendable wares at these people’s expense? They assume they can force them into “charity” while they capitalize off their photos and such! Even a body language “expert” is still on them. Why? Because her “science” isn’t admissible in court, that’s why. It’s no mystery why the vast majority thought they had a slam dunk case. It was simple: no body (the journalists and charity workers wouldn’t have it), no real tangible evidence since the car was vacated and had sat in a tow yard for days. Only two coffin flies (I didn’t learn anything from the bug guy because a fight broke out in the waiting line outside the court room and they didn’t really cover his testimony as much as the fight). They couldn’t prove who Googled what since many people had access to the computer (not to mention the fresh dirt shown at the beginning leading to cable and other utility lines around their home), even if one hit was made on March 17th, it meant nothing. The protesters were kids who wanted in there to destroy the neighborhood, yet the journalists called it a good thing. They made crank calls to the grandmother-another stalking technique.
    They stalk at garage sales. Wonder how closely they monitor their trash? They made it to the Hawaiian Inn promptly, two. Had he posted on a blog somewhere, would that have qualified for stalking/hacking/and life threatening episode?

    Biggest farce I’ve ever seen in my life!

    Like

  2. Lon Spector says:

    Divine providence runs completely through this case.
    Why can’t people see, (like Cindy) that Casey’s accquital was God’s will?
    Because of media bias, the whole world may hate Casey. But my spiritual/historical studies
    tell me to love her! And I do!

    Like

  3. JanCorey says:

    The prosecution never had a legitimate case against any Anthony and still don’t, imo.

    Like

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