Networks Break Into Programming for Casey Anthony Verdict: Acquitted of Murder (Video)
ABC and Fox broke into regular daytime programming to deliver the stunning “not guilty” verdict of Casey Anthony in the death of her daughter, 2-year-old Caylee Anthony.
Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos anchored ABC’s coverage with legal analyst Dan Abrams. Fox broadcasting took Fox News Channel’s feed which was anchored by Bill Hemmer.
On CBS, the co-hosts of The Talk including CBS News’ Julie Chen kept viewers up to date on the verdict, although without any pool footage, it was a rather disjointed attempt. In New York, the NBC O&O stayed with a rerun of The Real Housewives of New York.
On ABC, Stephanopoulos noted that “jaws dropped” in the studio when the verdict was delivered exonerating Casey Anthony of everything but several counts of lying to law enforcement. Prosecutors in Florida were seeking the death penalty in the murder trial.
Now the maximum prison sentence Casey Anthony can get is four years, if her sentences are continuous. The judge will impose sentencing on Thursday.
All of the cable networks — CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, HLN — covered the verdict live.
On HLN, Nancy Grace said: “You are seeing the inside of a stunned courtroom.
They [prosecutors] actually cannot believe it, that Caylee Anthony’s death has gone un-avenged.”
Anthony's large defense team held a press conference after the verdict. Jose Baez thanked the prosecutors, calling them "a fine group." But he blasted the death penalty, calling it "disgusting." Fellow defense attorney Cheney Mason used the opportunity to take aim at the media for what he interpreted as a rush to judgment.
"I would hope that this would be a lesson for those of you who have indulged in media assassination for three years," said Mason, adding that he "condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases they don't know a damn thing about."
"Now they've learned a lesson," said Mason.
Grace -- who is certainly among those television lawyers Mason was referring to -- responded: "I would think they would focus on the victory they just had in court," said Grace. "Lashing out at the media, I find that to be a very unusual reaction that that would be their first concern. It took them two full minutes to mention [Caylee Anthony]."