As most of you know, the jury selection in the Casey Anthony trial is now taking place in Pinellas County, Florida. Women in Crime Ink’s Diane Dimond is front and center, covering the trial for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. Obviously, Diane is extremely busy, but we were able to hold her hostage for a few minutes to engage in a brief Q&A to see what her opinion of the jury selection—and the general atmosphere—of the trial is so far. Actually, she was happy to do it for her WCI readers.
Q: Diane, what seems to be the general attitude among media members regarding the jury selection?
DD: We’re actually pretty dazzled by it all, because it’s going so fast. Judge Belvin Perry is running a very tight ship. He said the jury will be selected in one week, and I really think it will.
Q: It was reported in the media Monday that Casey Anthony was scolded by her attorney, Jose Baez, for “acting like a 2 year old” in front of a hot mic. What was the media reaction to this, and do you think the jury heard it?
DD: No, the jury didn’t hear it. They’re brought in and out of the court room one at a time and are sequestered in a back room. This comment apparently came at the end of the day. HLN and In Session are directing the media pool and someone in the courtroom apparently didn’t turn off the mics and that’s how Baez’s comment got broadcast out. We in the courtroom at the time didn’t even hear it. But the HLN producers, who are the best in the business, must have been listening closely and they apparently alerted the Nancy Grace Show because she covered it on her show that night. The next day, it was brought to the attention of the judge by Casey Anthony’s attorney. They got permission to turn off the mics at their table. And, they got the judge to order that the entire left side of the courtroom—behind the defense table—has to remain empty per the judge’s orders so no one can overhear what they might be saying.
DD: That’s exactly right. I think they’re definitely going to go the route that Caylee’s death was an accident, maybe someone else did it, and that she was so terrorized by her parents throughout her life she was too scared to tell them. I think that Cindy is going to be portrayed as a controlling shrew, and that George will be accused of being a violent man and maybe even a sexual abuser. Interestingly enough, I just got a text message that George Anthony was taken to the hospital this afternoon, although I haven’t confirmed. As for them not being present during the jury selection, it’s 100 miles away and I think they’re just taking this time right now to prepare themselves for the actual trial.
Q: Casey Anthony has been criticized for laughing and smiling during the jury selection. What’s been her general mood in the courtroom?
DD: I don’t see her laughing and smiling in front of the jurors, definitely not. Every time a larger group of jurors is brought in, Judge Perry re-reads the murder indictment. There have been three reads so far, and Casey cries during every read. She doesn’t laugh or smile at all in front of the jury. And that’s where it counts.
Q: It would appear that she genuinely believes she will be found "Not guilty?" Is that the feeling among members of the media?
DD: Interesting question. You’d have to get inside the head of Casey Anthony. If she’s guilty and actually had a conscience, she’d have taken a plea deal. My feeling is we’re dealing with a narcissist who doesn’t like her parents and only cares for herself. I think, in her mind, she’ll be able to tell her story, they’ll believe her, and she’ll be set free.
Q: What do you think is going to be the defense team’s smoking gun?
DD: I don’t believe the defense team has a smoking gun. I think they’ll try and weave a shocking tale on how Caylee’s death is totally explainable and blame Casey’s actions on her parents.
Q: Can we expect any more drama in the upcoming weeks out of Casey? Of course, that question pretty much answer’s itself.
DD: I think there’s built-in drama every day. I was surprised at what happened today. One of the jurors, during a break, went up to a reporter and asked, “How do I get off of this jury?” He was found in contempt of court and fined $450. As for Casey, one day she’s sitting next to her lawyer, the next day she’s not, and so on. Today, after the judge said they would be there through the night selecting the jury, Casey started to clench her right arm and hand, acting extremely agitated. She was removed from the courtroom, and we had no idea what the problem was or if jury selection would continue. There’s always going to be drama. I do predict that we’ll see a lot of drama during the defense team’s opening statement.
Q: Any other insight into the atmosphere there in Florida to give the WCI readers?
DD: Everybody is saying, “This is the Crime of the Century!” or bigger than the OJ Simpson trial or Michael Jackson trial. I covered both, and this? Nothing even compared to either of those two. There just really isn’t that much media. Of course, when the trial starts, that will probably change, but so far, it’s nothing like OJ, Michael Jackson, or Scott Peterson.
Diane will be providing up-to-date information on the Casey Anthony jury selection and subsequent trial for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. Also follow her on Twitter for extra details on the trial that you may not read anywhere else!