The only sentence I would ever like to hear Casey Anthony say is “I did it, and I’m sorry.” She will never say that. Therefore, I am not interested in anything she might have to say. I’m equally uninterested in what anyone else has to say about her.
We’ve all heard enough.
For years, Casey Anthony seemed to be all we heard about. You could not turn on your television without hearing an update on the search for Caylee, her “missing” young daughter. You could not buy a magazine or a newspaper without seeing more and more accounts of conflicting statements and bizarre behavior from Casey: Casey left Caylee with a nanny, who kidnapped her. Except there was no nanny. Casey worked at Universal Studios at the time of Caylee’s disappearance. Except she hadn’t worked there in years. Casey was a grieving, distraught mother. Except she was dancing on bar tables and getting tattoos about the beauty of life during her daughter’s disappearance.
Finally, the inevitable happened. Casey was arrested, and Caylee’s decomposed body was found in the woods near Casey’s home. The ensuing trial became the trial of the millennium, complete with a rogue bond bailsman, a Cheshire-cat grinning defense lawyer, Jose Baez and a sordid tale of incestuous molestation and pathological lying. The jury found Casey not guilty on all counts save four – for providing false information to authorities – and Casey was a free woman. Well, free in the sense that she no longer lived behind bars.
It would be nice to think that Casey continues to be incarcerated by her conscience. Given the Casey Anthony we came to “know” since 2008, it is doubtful she has been found guilty even there.
She has, however, been plagued by debt. Her legal defense was expensive. She has been sued by the man who found Caylee’s body and the woman Casey labeled as Caylee’s nanny, both of whom Casey or her team tried to paint as the potential killer. Volunteers who searched for Caylee’s body are also suing Casey for the expenses associated with their searches.
And so, in January of this year, Casey filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. She claims that she owes nearly $800,000, more than half that amount to Baez alone. She claims the only assets she has are some cash and insignificant jewelry, totaling just north of $1,000. Claiming that she has had no income in years, she explains that she has survived on the kindness of friends who let her live with them for free.
As a legal matter, it is important to Casey that she convinces the judge she has no real income; otherwise, she will not be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. The magical thing about Chapter 7 is that it wipes the filer’s slate clean. If Casey succeeds in her petition, the court will erase all of her debts, and she can re-start her financial life.
Off the hook again, you might say.
There’s a not-so-fast aspect to the bankruptcy proceedings. A “trustee” is assigned to make sure that there are no assets that could be sold to pay down some debts. In Casey’s case, the trustee has proposed a forced sale of Casey’s life story. The trustee claims he has already received three offers for the rights to her story, in the $10,000-$12,000 range.
Casey, through her bankruptcy lawyers, has objected to the trustee’s proposal. She claims that it would invade on her “private thoughts,” and that it would deny her the “fresh start” that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to provide. There are indications that the bankruptcy judge is inclined to agree with her.
Coming from Casey Anthony, it is almost certain that there is an ulterior motive underlying her objection to the life story proposal. There is an undeniable shrewdness to Casey, and in entirely selfish and self-serving terms, it has served her well. In this context, by arguing her way out of a court-mandated sale of her story, she keeps her hands on the one thing of value she has: herself.
If sold at bankruptcy, Casey’s story would bring no profits to Casey. The purchase price would pay down a seemingly small percentage of her debts, and the purchaser(s) would be able to do whatever they wanted with her life’s material.
If, however, Casey is able to exit bankruptcy with her rights to her story in tact, she can then go ahead and…yes, sell it. Barring some other prohibition or complication, she can do the tell-all book or the big interview or the spec script. And every time the cash register dings, it will signal the sound of money going into Casey’s hungry pockets.
Whether you find this disgusting or frustrating or a sterling example of the American legal process, it is hard to argue that Casey Anthony represents anything of value to the general public. She is at best a cautionary tale, and that tale has already been told. Her first-person narration would represent nothing more than an attempt to humanize or legitimize or destigmatize a person who has proven herself to be careless – in every sense of the word. Why, therefore, should any of us care about her?
The only stories Casey Anthony should be thinking about are the bedtime stories she is not reading to her daughter. Any other story she tells – voluntarily or involuntarily – doesn’t deserve a listener.
Featured image via Biography.com