In an exclusive interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters, Jose Baez, the defense attorney in the famous Casey Anthony case, shared his thoughts on the trial’s outcome. The formal sit-down interview, which aired last night on Primetime Nightline, was the 42-year-old Puerto Rican’s first since his client was found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee after 11 hours of deliberation. The toddler was found dead near her family’s Florida home in 2008.
In the interview, Walters told the Bronx-raised lawyer that he is perhaps one of the most discussed attorneys in the United States today. When asked if he had any idea how much impact the case would have on his life, Baez said it is slowly starting to sink in. "I think after I heard the last not guilty verdict in court yesterday that I had a moment where I thought to myself 'My life may start to change,'" he said.
Baez said his happiest moment was after hearing the first not guilty verdict because he knew he had saved Anthony’s life. “Once I got through that, I grabbed Casey’s hand and I held it,” he said. Baez said he believed for a long time that his team had an outstanding chance of getting Anthony an acquittal, but it was surrounded by many misconceptions, one of which was that Anthony was a bad mother.
"I think that every single witness who took the stand testified that she [Casey Anthony] was an excellent mother," Baez told Walters. When Walters' mouth gaped open, Baez said he has seen that same expression for the last three years. Caylee’s absence went unreported for 31 days until her grandmother called 911 and handed the phone to Anthony. In the phone call, Anthony explained to the 911 operator that she had searched for Caylee herself and tried other resources to find her. She added that her action was stupid.
"I understand that the actions that she [Casey Anthony] took were obviously not things that anyone could condone, however, this was not a murder case. It never was," Baez said. "And the jury saw that and, thankfully, our system worked."
Anthony was sentenced to four years today for lying to police but is likely to be freed in late July or early August because of time served and good behavior. To watch the rest of Walters’ interview with Jose Baez, click here.