TAMPA, Fla. — After 19 months of seclusion, Casey Anthony emerged into the public spotlight once again on Monday for a meeting with creditors in her bankruptcy case.
Dressed all in black, Anthony arrived at the federal courthouse in Tampa with her attorney, Cheney Mason, several hours early for the bankruptcy meeting. The pair was mobbed by photographers as they made a short walk to the courthouse.
Anthony’s hair was long and dark and she wearing sunglasses, black heels and stockings and carrying a black hat. She appeared flustered and hurried and did not address the media.
Anthony, 26, has not made any public appearances since she left jail in July 2011 after being acquitted of murder in the death her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
Anthony filed for bankruptcy in Florida in late January, claiming about $1,000 in assets and $792,000 in liabilities. Court papers list Anthony as unemployed, with no recent income.
Her listed debts include $500,000 for attorney fees and costs for her criminal defense lawyer during the trial, Jose Baez; $145,660 for the Orange County Sheriff’s office for investigative fees and costs; $68,540 for the Internal Revenue Service for taxes, interest and penalties; and $61,505 for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for court costs.
The filling also stated that she was a defendant in several lawsuits, including one brought by Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez for defamation in Orange County Circuit Court.
Fernandez-Gonzalez said her reputation was damaged by Anthony telling detectives that a baby sitter by the same name kidnapped Caylee. The detectives were investigating the 2008 disappearance of the girl, who later was found dead. Anthony’s attorney said details offered by Anthony did not match Fernandez-Gonzalez and clearly showed Anthony wasn’t talking about her.
Anthony had not been seen in public since she left an Orange County jail on July 16, 2011, 12 days after she was acquitted of murdering Caylee but convicted of lying to investigators and sentenced to four years in jail. With credit for the nearly three years she spent in jail since August 2008 and good behavior, she had to serve only several days when she was sentenced July 7.
Leaving jail just after midnight, Anthony was hustled into an SUV by her then-attorney, Jose Baez, and drove off, disappearing from public view.
The case drew national attention ever since Caylee was reported missing. Cable network HLN aired the entire trial, with pundit and former prosecutor Nancy Grace sharply criticizing Anthony nightly. Vitriol poured into social networking sites after the acquittal, with observers posting angry messages on Twitter and Facebook’s “I Hate Casey Anthony” page.
Outraged lawmakers in several states responded by passing so-called Caylee’s laws that allow authorities to prosecute parents who don’t quickly report missing children. And many still speculate about what really happened to Caylee: Was she suffocated with duct tape by her mother, as prosecutors argued? Or did she drown in an accident that snowballed out of control, as defense attorneys contended?
Caylee’s remains were found in December 2008 in woods near the home Casey Anthony shared with her parents.