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Casey Anthony Trial: Matthew Bartlett found in contempt of court after giving middle finger to attorney Jeff Ashton

3:52 PM, Jun 30, 2011   |    comments
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Orlando, Florida -- A visibly perturbed Judge Belvin Perry found a courtroom spectator in contempt Thursday afternoon, after the man was seen making an obscene gesture at one of the prosecution attorneys.

After the jury was dismissed for the day, 28-year-old Matthew Bartlett was brought before Judge Perry. Bartlett admitted to flashing the middle finger at prosecutor Jeff Ashton earlier in the day.

Judge Perry held up a sign that was posted on the door leading into the courtroom that read "Any gesture, facial expression or audible comment showing approval or disapproval during a court proceeding is absolutely prohibited."

"Can you read and write?" the judge asked Bartlett.

"Yes sir," he replied.

"Did you not read this sign, sir?" Judge Perry then asked.

"I have read that," Bartlett said. He then apologized for his actions.

Perry found him guilty of direct criminal contempt, and sentenced him to six days in Orange County Jail. The judge also imposed a fine of $400 along with court costs of approximately $223. Bartlett has six months to pay the fees.

Bartlett was then handcuffed and removed from the courtroom.

This isn't the first time a courtroom spectator has been found in contempt during the Casey Anthony trial.  During the jury selection, a woman yelled out "She killed somebody anyway!"

Thursday's courtroom theatrics capped off Day 32 of testimony, where earlier Casey Anthony informed the court she would not testify, and her lawyer rested the defense's case.

Crime Scene Photos: Pictures from where Caylee Anthony's body was found (Caution: Some pictures may be considered graphic)

More Pictures: Click here to see the photos Casey Anthony doesn't want you to see (Caution: pics contain some adult material: IE: Drinking, partial nudity)

The defense made big promises in opening statements. Attorney Jose Baez said that the defense team would show the jury a history of sexual abuse allegedly at the hands of George and Lee Anthony.

Baez further maintained that George Anthony helped to get rid of Caylee's body after the child allegedly drowned.

Casey, the defense claims, behaved bizarrely when Caylee was missing during that now infamous 31 days in the summer of 2008.

Does this mean the alleged childhood sexual abuse influenced Casey's behavior?

Her parents and Lee have denied the abuse.

So, the only one who can truly confirm the abuse theory is Casey herself. But, those watching the case closely know that had she taken the stand to testify in her own defense, she would be grilled aggressively -- possibly for days -- by the state.

Some say it would be "a slaughter."

Ultimately, the decision was Casey and Casey's alone to make.

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