Posts Tagged ‘gonzalez civil suit’

Federal Judge K. Rodney May threw out the defamation lawsuit by Zenaida Gonzalez against Casey Anthony.


In the defamation lawsuit filed 7 years ago, Gonzalez claimed that Anthony tried to frame her as the babysitter who kidnapped and killed Anthony’s daughter, 2-year-old Caylee.  The judge ruled the lawsuit would not proceed.

In 2008, a video from the Orange County jail recorded Anthony complaining to her parents that the detectives were not doing enough to question “that girl down in Kissimmee”.  Anthony described to detectives, a woman named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez; none of the attributes described, including appearance, age, parents, vehicle, jobs, or friends, matched Zenaida Gonzalez.  The only similarity was the similar name, which Gonzalez herself admitted in a deposition for the lawsuit, but she still alleged that in this one instance Anthony was referring to her.  She proceeded to insert herself in the public eye, making many interview appearances.  She claimed it ruined her reputation and that she could not find work.

Despite this claim, Zenaida Gonzalez had found work at a Circle K.  In 2012, she was fired and arrested for selling alcohol to a minor.  She pled no contest (solo contendere) to a 2nd degree misdemeanor charge of selling/giving/serving alcohol to someone younger than 21.  She faced 2 months in jail plus fines.  Instead, her adjudication was withheld.  She was arrested during a sting operation by the police.  An 18-year-old working as an undercover informant with the police bought Four Loko.  Even though Gonzalez asked for the ID, per store policy, she didn’t actually look at it.  (CBSNews)

In addition to the similar name, the only other fact connecting Gonzalez to the case was that she had once visited the apartment complex where Anthony originally told detectives she dropped her daughter off.  Anthony has always denied that she was talking about Zenaida Gonzalez.  At trial, Anthony’s criminal defense attorneys explained that Caylee Anthony had drowned in the swimming pool and was never kidnapped.  They also went into detail about other fictional people Anthony had invented over the years.  A jury acquitted Anthony of murder in 2011.  Following her acquittal, Anthony was forced to declare bankruptcy due to enormous state fines and defense bills.

Judge May, who discharged Anthony’s debts in 2013, was asked to decide whether Gonzalez was entitled to any money.  Gonzalez alleged “she was the only person identifiable as the girl down in Kissimmee and that when considered with surrounding circumstances, [Anthony’s] statement implicated [Gonzalez]…”

In his 20 page ruling, he ruled that the statements “girl down in Kissimmee” even if joined with “babysitter” in no way implicate Gonzalez, “There is nothing in the statement…to support the allegations that [Anthony] intended to portray [Gonzalez] as a child kidnapper and potentially a child killer.”

He also states that on their face, the statements in the video “appear to harm no one.”  In his ruling, Judge May concludes that Anthony’s “fabricated version of events did not implicate [Gonzalez] in the disappearance of the child.”  The Court also found that the statement “was made only to [Anthony’s] parents”.

“It was not a false statement about [Gonzalez’s] person, character, or conduct.”  In fact, “The statement was not targeted at [Gonzalez].”

“It was a statement…about the Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigators failing to pursue [Anthony’s] story…During the same conversation…[Anthony] gave a description of the babysitter, as a person having a hyphenated last name, and physical features that did not match those of [Gonzalez], whom she did not know.”

He concluded that the statements were not malicious nor made about Gonzalez.  He also ruled on Anthony’s mother’s statements later to the media, which Gonzalez’s attorneys attempted to make Anthony’s responsibility.

“The later public comments by [Anthony’s] mother do not show an intent to injure…and are not linked to any directive by [Anthony]…”

“There is no legal or factual basis to attribute the mother’s statements to [Anthony]…”

He ruled that because there was no defamation, the Gonzalez claims could be discharged with the bankruptcy.  Critics of Anthony state that she escaped on mere “technicalities”, which is obviously untrue given the judge’s detailed lawful and common sense ruling.  It is unclear whether Gonzalez will appeal.

A defamation lawsuit filed by Roy Kronk against Casey Anthony remains open.  Kronk, a former Orange County meter reader, found Caylee Anthony’s remains in 2008.

Sources:  News6Click Orlando  |  News 96.5


During a contentious hearing in federal bankruptcy court the judge in Casey Anthony’s bankruptcy proceeding delayed his ruling on whether or not Casey Anthony should have to submit to a deposition.  Previous media reports by WESH 2 were inaccurate.  Attorneys for Zenaida Gonzalez are fighting to salvage their civil suit amidst Anthony’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Gonzalez had wanted to question Anthony last week, but Anthony’s attorneys filed a protection order against it.  Currently, Anthony’s attorneys have a pending motion seeking to dismiss Zenaida Gonzalez’s lawsuit amongst others (i.e. Roy Kronk’s).  That hearing will be on November 5th.  Debra Ferwerda, Anthony’s attorney, argued that Anthony may never be deposed and shouldn’t have to face questioning, “without the court deciding if [they] even have a case.”

One of Gonzalez’s attorneys, Scott Shuker told the judge he was fine with waiting until after November 5th and even accepted all of the terms that Anthony’s attorneys put forward.  “I don’t care if we take it in your chambers…I don’t care if we seal it,” he told Judge K. Rodney May.

Judge May seemed frustrated about the lack of communication between the two sides, “I don’t want to hear about what hasn’t been done…I want to hear how we can move forward.” At the end of the hearing, the judge ruled that he would defer the deposition issue until after he decides whether or not Gonzalez’s claim has merit, “We don’t need to set a deposition if I do dismiss.”

Shuker was agitated throughout the hearing and lashed out at Anthony’s attorney, David Schrader, afterwards.  He called him a “bush league” attorney, slang for below standard, poor, pitiful, or awful.  He also added, “You used to have a good reputation.”  Shuker didn’t comment to reporters, out of character for Gonzalez’s attorneys, and just rushed past the reporters.  Schrader and Ferwerda brushed off his outburst and expressed confidence about moving forward and if the judge should decide that there should be a deposition, they said they would figure out how to handle it.

Zenaida Gonzalez claims that she was defamed when Casey Anthony told investigators that a woman named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez kidnapped her missing 2-year-old daughter.  Gonzalez faces an uphill battle, including the fact that Casey Anthony created Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez 2 years before the incident, the two share no similarities, and Casey Anthony specifically ruled Gonzalez out when shown a photo lineup.  Roy Kronk, a meter reader, who discovered Caylee Anthony’s remains, says he was defamed when Anthony’s defense team said he moved the remains.  He also faces an uphill battle, including the fact that he isn’t saying that Anthony defamed him, but rather her attorney’s did, whom he isn’t suing.

Zenaida Gonzalez’s attorneys planned to depose Casey Anthony on Wednesday, but her attorneys have asked the federal judge in the bankruptcy case to prevent her from having to answer questions until at least after he rules on pending dismissal motions in November.

Referring to Gonzalez as a “principal orchestrator of the media circus,” her lawyers write that Gonzalez’s claim lacks merit, and the deposition was scheduled inappropriately without their consultation or notice.

“Gonzalez has used a lawsuit…as a platform for publicity and other purposes ulterior to and detrimental to the judicial process,” the motion states, she is on a “quest for publicity”.

The motion goes on to say that, if the deposition is allowed to proceed, Anthony will decline to answer questions and plead the Fifth Amendment.  Also in the motion, Anthony’s lawyers ask if Judge May is going to allow the deposition to move forward if Casey Anthony can appear via video instead of in person.  They have also asked that the deposition be sealed from the public and the media, and that Anthony shouldn’t have to disclose certain personal information, such as where she is living.

Gonzalez’s attorney, Matt Morgan, claimed when he scheduled the deposition that Casey Anthony couldn’t plead the Fifth Amendment because her criminal appeals were resolved.

David Schrader, Anthony’s attorney, also stated that she was already deposed in the state court,

“Although Gonzalez’ counsel has repeatedly told the press and others that his goal in this case is to ‘break Ms. Anthony’s story,’ he will not do so and should not be allowed to put Ms. Anthony through another argumentative and abusive proceeding…” Schrader said.

Casey Anthony told detectives in 2008 that she had a babysitter for 2 years named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez and she kidnapped her missing daughter.  Gonzalez claims that those statements defamed her and that she should be considered a creditor in the bankruptcy.

In an email to the media, Morgan stated, “We know she doesn’t want to answer, that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have to.”

RELATED:  Casey Anthony’s Lawyers Ask Judge to Dismiss Claims Against Her