5 Revelations from New Book by Casey Anthony's Prosecutor

Imperfect Justice Casey Anthony Book Cover - P 2011

Imperfect Justice Casey Anthony Book Cover - P 2011

In "Imperfect Justice," lawyer Jeff Ashton calls Casey's story about Caylee drowning the "nuclear lie," says he opposed the death penalty for strategic reason, and expresses sympathy for her father George.

The first of what promises to be many Casey Anthony-related books hits stores today.  Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony (William Morrow, 324 pages, $26.99) is by Jeff Ashton, the lead prosecutor in the case.

Anthony is the Orlando woman acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in July. Caylee disappeared in 2008 and Anthony initially claimed she had been kidnapped. Caylee’s skeleton was found several months later hidden in a swamp with her mouth and nose covered with duct tape.  Later, after offering up several conflicting stories, Casey said Caylee drowned in the family swimming pool and her father George helped her cover up the death.

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The trial captured America’s attention and Anthony’s acquittal was a national sensation, with most people believing she was guilty.  Anthony has been in hiding at an undisclosed location since the end of the trail.

Ashton is still bitter at losing the trial and he pulls few punches.  In the end, the book will appeal mostly to Casey Anthony junkies.  Here’s five key revelations from Ashton’s book:

1. He thinks Casey is a sociopathic liar.  “In all my years as a prosecutor, I have seen my share of liars, but never one quite like this.”

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2. Casey’s story that Caylee drowned in a swimming pool is the “nuclear lie.”  Casey seems to have first told this story to two therapists who interviewed her for the defense.  She also told them that her father sexually abused her.  But the defense never put the therapists on the stand so the prosecution could not cross-examine them.  Still, defense attorney Jose Baez managed to use the story as a convincing alternate theory of how Caylee died.  Ashton dismisses the whole story as “Casey 4.0”—the fourth version of the lies she told to cover up her role in killing Caylee.

3. He expresses sympathy for Casey’s father George but little for her mother Cindy.  “I felt really bad for him. … George was faced with a choice: either follow the facts and fight for the truth or drink the Kool-Aid that Casey was serving. …  If he followed is intellect, it meant that he had lost his granddaughter to the grave, his daughter to prison, and his wife to her unfounded theories—which might lead to divorce."

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4. Ashton opposed the Death Penalty and at one point offered Casey a plea bargain.  “Personally, I think I would have been happier if the death penalty had not been reintroduced into the case, even though on some level I think Casey may have deserved it. … I just didn’t think the jury would go there.”  Late in the trial, the defense offered Casey 30 years in jail if she pled guilty to second-degree murder.  Casey refused to consider the offer.

5.  Defense attorney Baez respected Ashton but the reverse was never true.  After the trial, Baez told Ashton, “You’re the toughest motherfucker I’ve ever been up against.”  Ashton, on the other hand, did not reciprocate the respect.  “The word I used in describing Jose is smarmy: somebody who is slick, underhanded and doesn’t shoot straight.”