ORLANDO, Fla. — A judge ruled Friday that Casey Anthony is indigent and can use public money to help pay for her defense against charges that she killed her 2-year-old daughter.
Circuit Judge Stan Strickland issued the ruling a day after her attorney disclosed that ABC had paid the Florida mother and her relatives $200,000 for exclusive use of family photos and videos.
In his ruling, the judge said Anthony met the standards under the law to be deemed indigent. A new lawyer joined Anthony's defense team Thursday, agreeing to help represent her pro bono. In Anthony's case, the judge's ruling means the state will cover defense costs, but not lawyer's fees. Those defense costs will be submitted to the court to make sure they comply with caps on spending, the judge said.
Her attorney, Jose Baez, told the judge Thursday that in addition to the money from ABC, Anthony's defense fund had received $70,000 from another attorney on the defense team and a $5,000 anonymous donation. But that money is gone, he said.
Some of her lawyers have worked pro bono, but Baez told the judge he had been paid more than $89,000 since taking on the case in 2008, and another attorney had been paid more than $22,000.
Anthony has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and has said a baby sitter kidnapped her daughter, Caylee. The toddler's remains were found in December 2008, six months after she was reported missing.
Anthony's trial is scheduled to start in May 2011.
In a related matter, the jail where Anthony is incarcerated until her trial has opened an internal investigation into how she was able to send letters to another inmate. The inmate told investigators that Anthony had sent her almost 50 notes while they were at the Orange County Jail. The notes contained statements relevant to the case but were not a confession, according to a prosecutor's motion unsealed Thursday.
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