ORLANDO -- The Orlando Sentinel has filed a motion in court arguing against the efforts of Casey Anthony’s defense team to have her Oct. 8 deposition sealed in her civil defamation lawsuit.
The 8-page court paper filed by Sentinel attorney Rachel Fugate notes that the court has historically “rejected almost every request by the defense to seal judicial or public records and Ms. Anthony received a fair trial” in her criminal case.
That fair trial came, Fugate noted, despite pre-trial releases of information about evidence in the case and despite “the significant amount of media attention.”
Now, attorneys representing Anthony in the lawsuit filed against her by Zenaida Gonzalez want to seal a deposition from earlier this month in which Anthony invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Attorneys for Gonzalez, who are suing Anthony for defamation, asked Judge Lisa T. Munyon to review the deposition to help decide whether she has a legitimate claim of Fifth Amendment protection. But that team, which includes John Morgan, also wants the deposition to be part of the public record.
Munyon heard arguments from both the Anthony and Gonzalez attorneys on the issue of keeping the deposition confidential earlier this month. The deposition was filed with the court, but Munyon temporarily sealed the record, pending her final ruling on the issue.
Now, the Sentinel has filed its motion to intervene in the case for the limited purpose of opposing Anthony’s motion to keep the records confidential.
“The defendant has not met her burden or provided a single legitimate basis for this court to seal a judicial record,” Fugate wrote.
“The sole reason for confidentiality presented by Ms. Anthony -- that this is a high profile case -- does not provide the defendant with a unique privilege to limit access to public information,” she added.
Sealing judicial records, Fugate concluded, can only be ordered when a “substantial threat” exists to a defendant’s right to get a fair trial. Anthony’s motion should be denied because it “does not even come close to meeting these high standards,” she wrote.
In his pleading arguing to have the deposition sealed, Anthony attorney Charles Greene said the court has recognized “the extraordinary challenges to a fair trial that exist in this case.”
“The pursuit of justice will not be enhanced by authorizing public display or recitation of the defendant’s deposition transcript or testimony,” Greene wrote.
Morgan has said Anthony is “recognizable” in a video of the deposition. She appeared to wear a wig, may “have had some work done,” and wore a Philadelphia Phillies cap along with large “Jackie O. sunglasses,” Morgan said.
Munyon is expected to rule on the deposition sealing issue soon.