A MOM who was accused of killing her young daughter is hoping for a fresh start by launching her own private investigation firm a decade on from being cleared.
After a six-week trial and hours of deliberation ten years ago, Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her two-year-old tot Caylee.
Her 2011 trial was dubbed "the social media trial of century" and became a media circus as millions tuned in to watch, with Casey was painted to be a promiscuous party girl who was not concerned about her missing toddler by the prosecution.
The eventual not-guilty verdict sent shockwaves across the globe after the public became gripped by what one attorney has described as a "real life soap opera".
But after trying to avoid the public eye in the years that have followed, the 35-year-old now wants to aid others wrongfully facing serious legal charges.
"She knows what it’s like to be accused of something that she didn’t do," an insider told People.
"She wants to help other wrongfully accused people, especially women, and help them get justice."
Casey's daughter Caylee Anthony was reported missing back on July 15, 2008 – having not been seen alive since June 16 that year.
Cindy Anthony, Casey's mom, told officials she had not seen Caylee for 31 days and that Casey's car smelled like a dead body had been inside it.
She claimed Casey had given varied explanations as to Caylee's whereabouts before finally telling her that she also had not seen the toddler for weeks.
At the time, Casey lied to detectives, telling them her daughter had been kidnapped by a nanny on June 9 and was trying to find her, but she was too frightened to alert the authorities.
The toddler's decomposed remains were found with a blanket inside a laundry bag in a wooded area near the Anthony family residence on December 11, 2008.
The death was ruled a homicide, but the cause of death was listed as undetermined – and Casey was accused of murder.
The 35-year-old was put on trial from May to July 2011, as the prosecution sought the death penalty.
The prosecution alleged Casey wished to free herself from parental responsibilities and murdered her daughter by administering chloroform and applying duct tape.
The defense team argued that the toddler had accidentally drowned in the family's swimming pool on June 16, 2008, and that Casey's father, George, disposed of the body.
Then, on July 5, 2011, the jury found Casey not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child.
It was like a real-life soap opera.
Casey – who was 25-years-old at the time of the trial – was only found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a police officer, and with credit for time served, was released on July 17, 2011.
But while Casey cried tears of relief at being acquitted, Winter Park attorney J. Cheney Mason – who was part of her defense team – said they were plagued with death threats.
Furious crowds outside the courtroom, he said, had everything but the tar, feather and ropes".
A decade on, the case has been branded the "perfect storm" by former Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr.
"You had a very beautiful child that had that million-dollar smile,” he told the Orlando Sentinel.
"You had grandparents who were sincerely and feverishly trying to find out what had happened to this child.
"You had the ingredients of a mother that attracted attention – good, bad or indifferent. You had the dynamics of the mother being portrayed as a party girl and seemingly unconcerned as to the whereabouts of her child.”
“It was like a real-life soap opera."
According to attorney Jose Baez, who has since represented high-profile clients such as Harvey Weinstein, his time defending Casey drew the most attention.
"The attention just was nowhere near as much as Casey’s case," he told the outlet.
"I would go to visit her in jail and there would be people waiting for me when I got in and when I got out.
"I was being followed in my car multiple times by reporters. They were outside my office just to get me walking in and walking out.”
Casey was thrust back into the media's attention when she was involved in a massive brawl in May 2021, after drinks were reportedly thrown at O'Shea's Irish Pub in West Palm Beach in Florida.
But in the hope of leading a normal life, Casey has now reportedly filed paperwork to open a private investigation company in South Florida.
It led to speculation that she hopes to look into her daughter's death, but such claims have been squashed.
A source told People: "That's a closed chapter in her life.
"She's not starting a company to get answers about Caylee."
Casey filed documents in December listing herself as a registered agent of Case Research & Consulting Services, LLC – which is registered to a home in West Palm Beach owned by Patrick McKenna, who was Anthony's lead investigator for her defense team.
As a convicted felon, Casey will not be able to obtain a Florida private investigator's license, however.
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