CASEY ANTHONY: I don't pay rent or utilities, friends buy my food

10:24 PM, Mar 4, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida - It was the first time the public had truly seen her up close in nearly two years.

Casey Anthony hopped out of a black Lincoln Navigator when she arrived at federal court in downtown Tampa Monday morning. The 26-year-old clutched a black hat and was shielded by the watchful eye of a member of her legal team, Cheney Mason.

When she pushed her way through the crush of local and national media, Casey composed herself once inside the courthouse and flipped her shoulder-length black hair as she approached the security entrance.

Both outside and inside, federal court extra security stood by. Several of the uniformed men had machine guns and dogs.

Once she was inside her bankruptcy hearing on the fifth floor, Casey was cool, collected, and calm. She even joked with members of her legal team. Nothing seemed to rattle her as she sat in a white blouse and black skirt with black fingernails, surrounded by a team of five attorneys.

More than 30 members of the media also sat in the hearing taking copious notes, since phones and recording devices are not allowed in federal court.

Both Steven Mienenger, a trustee, and Scott Shucker, a lawyer for Zenaida Gonazalez, asked Casey questions under oath.

She admitted, "I don't pay rent, I don't pay utilities. I guess you could say I'm living for free or off the kindness of the people I'm staying with."

Citing security concerns, the Orlando mother did not revealed the exact location of her home or recent whereabouts. But, she answered detailed questions about her lifestyle since her July 2011 acquittal. She said that she takes the bus for transportation and that the bulk of her money "comes from Jose Baez." She testified that he gave her $3,400 for living expenses, along with a laptop so she could communicate.

Casey also admitted that her cell phone is paid for "by a friend."  When asked who that friend is, her attorney would not let her disclose the information, citing security issues.

When asked about her living expenses, she said, "Some of the money is from unsolicited donations from various individuals. The bulk of the money came from Jose Baez." 

As for food, she testified, "I try to contribute when I can."

She also claims her friends buy food for her and that she's basically "living for free."

Casey added that she has not been offered a movie or book deal, which Gonzalez's attorney says he finds hard to believe. "It doesn't pass the smell test," he told 10 News. "She has five attorneys with her and none of them are being paid? That's odd."

Casey also told a trustee that she "relinquished" rights to certain photos to Baez. "I was asked to pose for a couple photos. That was the extent of my involvement," she said. However, the nature of the photos was not revealed. Neither Casey nor her attorney, Charles Greene, gave details about the photos she said Baez profited from in the past.

So, did she know how much those photos were worth? "No sir," she testified.

She did say that the photo relinquishment took place September 9, 2011, which happened to coincide during a series of tabloid pictures of Casey allegedly shopping. Casey said that Baez also sold family photos for $200,000 to ABC News to make money for her legal defense.

She claims to be worth just over $1,000, but says she owes nearly $800,000 in debt, the majority of which she says she owes Baez to the tune of $500,000 for her legal fees.

Under the rules of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, creditors, including Jose Baez, were allowed to ask Casey Anthony various questions as she appeared under oath in federal court, but only one showed up. That was Gonzalez's attorney, Scott Shuker. Gonzalez, whom Casey referred to "Zanny the Nanny" during trial, is suing for defamation of character.

Documents show there is additional debt Casey has incurred -- $217,000 owed to the Orange County Sheriff's Office and FDLE for  investigating the phony kidnapping of Caylee. In addition, Casey also owes the IRS $68,540, which stems from her 2008 taxes on the $200,000 from photos sold to ABC News.

Fireworks began when Shuker got fired up as Casey asked to consult with one of her attorneys, Charles Greene, before answering certain questions. Shuker spoke sternly and said, "Mr. Greene, who is not under oath, is trying to take over these proceedings!"

Shuker later added, "It was not proper what he did."

A bankruptcy judge has yet to make a ruling on the case. Casey will be deposed at a later date as the trustee in this case does further investigation. The young woman, acquitted in her daughter's murder, left court mid-afternoon in a high-end black Mercedes sedan, shielded by security.

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