Judge undecided on if Anthony’s story can be sold
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A judge said Tuesday that he will take 30 days before deciding whether the trustee in Casey Anthony’s bankruptcy case can sell the commercial rights to her life story as a means to clear some of her outstanding debts.
Federal Judge K. Rodney May said that though he is worried about the effect on imposing long-term restrictions on Anthony, he will review the motion submitted by bankruptcy trustee Stephen Meininger.
“I am skeptical about the property rights,” May said. “It could be used as an injunction dressed up as a sale.”
Anthony did not attend Tuesday’s hearing.
Meininger’s lawyer said that he has received offers of $10,000 and $12,000 from people who want to purchase the rights to the story. That attorney, Allan Watkins, was also adamant that the intent of Meininger was not to force Anthony to tell her story to anyone.
Now 26, Anthony was acquitted of murder in 2011 in the death her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. In court filings, she lists about $792,000 owed to multiple creditors.
If the judge grants his request, Meininger wants to set up a potential auction for “exclusive worldwide rights” for Anthony’s story.
Debra Ferwerda, who is one of Anthony’s bankruptcy attorneys, argued that the potential buyers in such an auction would “give them control over Ms. Anthony for the rest of her life.”
Ferwerda also said that since the story hasn’t been told by Anthony to anyone yet, it isn’t yet commercial property and that the buyers “don’t have the right to restrict someone’s thoughts and memories.”
Watkins told the judge that wasn’t what they were trying to do.
“We’re saying that we have a right to sell of the story if she elects to tell it,” he told the judge. “If she doesn’t want to tell it, so be it.”
During a meeting with creditors in her bankruptcy case in Tampa on March 4, Anthony said she was unemployed and hasn’t received any money to tell her story. She said that she is living with friends and that those friends — and strangers who send her gift cards and cash — help her survive.
Anthony filed for bankruptcy in Florida in late January, claiming about $1,000 in assets and $792,000 in liabilities. Court papers list Anthony as unemployed, with no recent income.
Her listed debts include $500,000 for attorney fees and costs for Jose Baez, her criminal defense lawyer during the trial; $145,660 for the Orange County Sheriff’s office for investigative fees and costs; $68,540 for the Internal Revenue Service for taxes, interest and penalties; and $61,505 for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for court costs.
The filling also states that she is a defendant in several lawsuits.