Video: George Anthony tears up on stand

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    >>> more compelling testimony from george anthony right now at the murder trial of his daughter casey anthony . in fact, he became teary eyed accusing the defense of twisting his words. yesterday, he denied having an affair with a volunteer searching for little caylee but that woman may well take the stand today in what could be another explosive day of testimony. george anthony also denied telling the woman that caylee's death was an accident.

    >> i never found my granddaughter. to this day i've never found her and to say that i had said something to her about it's been stated or even by you here that something may have snowballed out of control, that conversation was never there.

    >> joining us is legal analyst an enformer prosecutor susan filen and john q. kelly. good morning to both of you.

    >> good morning.

    >> all three members of casey 's family have been on the stand in the last 24 hours and i have to tell you. what strikes me is, frankly, just how messed up this family seems to be. they're constantly contradicting each other. testifying for the defense , that're testifying for the prosecution s. that maybe what the defense is going after, that the jury will be so confused they'll throw their hands up and say, reasonable doubt?

    >> not only is the jury so confused, i'm so confused. i don't know what the defense is going after. i mean, you can't trust this family. i'm not sure you can trust this defense now and that's the problem. what is the defense trying to do? i i think the case is so messed up that it has to be disregarded and makes the state's case with the giant hole in the middle about cause of death look better because the jury's going to stand back and say, what else could have happened to this child which isn't really proof and i think how it falls in this case.

    >> casey 's brother lee anthony contradicted testimony by his mother cindy. today, cindy was asked about sexual contact potentially between casey and her brother lee. she said she never saw anything inappropriate. what do you make of all this, john?

    >> most of it shouldn't be coming in. it has to do with credibility of witnesses. i don't know why it's coming you. secondly --

    >> is it to confuse?

    >> i'm sure and then the woman's never going to be able to testify about anything yoerch said to her. it's hearsay. that shouldn't come out either but i think they're trying to get in the back door the defense and insinuate what happened, that they took step out on the ledge in the beginning saying she drowned. george helped cover it up and it got out of control and they don't have the facts to back it up and trying to do it through insinuation now.

    >> i think you both would agree you would not put casey anthony on the stand. right?

    >> never.

    >> but the judge says he's going to talk to casey . he wants to make sure that whatever decision she makes she's made on her own so take us inside that room, susan , what will that conversation be like?

    >> between the lawyer and the defendant, we know that the conversation went so badly that the defense lawyer looked for a competency exam so something's going on there. what's going to happen on the record in open court is proper and correct procedure. the judge has to canvas the defendant. she has two decisions, whether to plead guilty and whether to take the stand.

    >> this will take place in the open courtroom?

    >> not in front of the jury.

    >> okay. does he just say as just sort of proforma, do you understand that you have the right or will he go more into it?

    >> no, no, no. you have the right to testify. it is your decision not to testify. are you doing this freely? have your rights been explained to you? they want to make it appeal proof. they want to make it so there's no possible appellate issue.

    >> john, if you're her lawyer and want her to be able to honestly answer, yes, i understand what's at stake and i have made the decision, what are you saying to her?

    >> you have to explain to her the pros and cons of her testifying and make sure she understands that she has weighed the options before making that decision. and, you know, the other thing is, too, this goes on a lot of times with defense counsel they'll -- she'll indicate she wants to testify but the lawyers advised strongly against it and therefore she is not going to. defendants often like to indicate to the jury they want to testify but they're being held back as sort of a message to the jury and might be going on here, too.

    >> john, susan , thanks to both of you. we'll keep watching. they have taken a break i think for 15 moneys. i don't know why. if it's a normal morning break or something has happened. do we know? do we know why they have taken this 15-minute break? normal break. okay. it's a normal break and we'll keep you posted throughout

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 6/29/2011 3:25:08 PM ET 2011-06-29T19:25:08

Casey Anthony's father wrote in a suicide note that he had unanswered questions about what happened to his granddaughter, a revelation that undercuts defense claims that the toddler drowned accidentally and he helped cover it up.

Casey Anthony is on trial for murder in central Florida, accused of suffocating 2-year-old Caylee with duct tape in the summer of 2008. Her remains were found in the woods in December of that year.

Defense attorneys, who have been trying to paint the Anthony family as dysfunctional, say Caylee drowned in her grandparents' backyard pool and Casey's father, George, disposed of the body.

On Wednesday, lead defense attorney Jose Baez asked George Anthony about his January 2009 suicide attempt. But when prosecutor Jeff Ashton later asked Anthony if he had bought a gun five months before that, Baez objected.

With the jury out of the room, George Anthony said he planned to use the gun to try to get his daughter's friends to tell him what happened to Caylee.

He also said he wrote in his suicide note about "unanswered questions" and that he chose to kill himself because "I needed at that time to go be with Caylee because I knew I failed her."

Ashton argued that the statements were valid for the jury to hear because they rebutted the drowning theory and implied that George Anthony didn't know what really happened to Caylee. Ashton also said the suicide note did not include any reference to George Anthony molesting Casey Anthony when she was a child, as Baez claimed in his opening statement.

Judge Belvin Perry agreed the jury could hear about the gun purchase and the suicide note.

"It looks to me like someone opened the door and someone is trying to walk through it," he said.

When the jury came back, George Anthony got emotional as he recounted the months before his suicide attempt, in which he drove to Daytona Beach and tried to overdose on prescription medication.

He also said he never got the opportunity to confront his daughter's friends because law enforcement confiscated the gun the day after he bought in August 2008. Casey was out on bond and staying in his home, and firearms are prohibited in a place where a person on bond is living.

Baez asked George Anthony if he remembered being asked by the prosecution if he had ever molested his daughter, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"I would never do anything like that to my daughter," the witness said, saying he would "never harm her that way."

The Sentinel reported that Baez quickly fired back: "Only in that way?"

George Anthony was also questioned by the defense about "nice" comments made to his daughter and "negative" comments he made about her to the authorities while Casey was in jail before the trial.

He told the court he was trying to get answers about the disappearance of his granddaughter and help efforts to find her, while keeping his daughter "upbeat." He appeared to dab away tears from his eyes at that point.

Video: George Anthony tears up on stand (on this page)

He teared up again when asked if he had attempted suicide in January 2009 and if he had left a note. He replied to both questions, "Yes sir, I did."

The defense asked him about what they said were conflicting statements that he had made about whether he had smelled human remains when he went to pick up his daughter's car.

"There was a smell of human decomposition in that car, not the garbage that was there," he said.

'Completely honest'
George Anthony insisted he had been "completely honest" in his testimony. "I can close my eyes, sir, and I can smell that again," he added.

Asked why he had driven the car home and gone to work after smelling what he thought were human remains, he said he had made sure the bodies of his granddaughter and daughter were not inside.

"Was I concerned about what was there? Sure," he said, adding "My emotions were all over the place."

During his testimony, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Casey Anthony shook her head and looked upset. After he stepped down during a recess, Cindy Anthony hugged him and took a deep breath.

He returned to give evidence, but later broke down in tears and, despite saying he needed to "get through this," he was led away from the stand.

After a short recess, George Anthony returned to the stand and was asked about his suicide bid. Through tears, he recalled writing a letter to his wife in a Daytona Beach hotel room while drinking and taking pills.

He said he still had "those feelings," and again became emotional.

"I needed at that time to go and be with Caylee," he said, "...because I believed I failed her."

Referring to his suicide bid, George Anthony said if it had not been for law enforcement officers, "I wouldn't be here today."

On Tuesday, the defense scrutinized the testimony of a meter reader who it argues moved the remains of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony so he could collect a reward for the discovery.

Video: Man who found remains testifies (on this page)

The defense has continued to hammer away at forensics evidence at the heart of the prosecution's case against 25-year-old Casey Anthony.

The prosecution says Caylee's remains were in the woods for some six months after she was killed when they were recovered in December 2008.

The defense was been trying to prove they could have been there for much less time to try to cast doubt on prosecution experts who said the body had been decomposing for several months.

'A little odd'
Roy Kronk, the man who reported her remains to the police that December, testified for the defense that the August before, he noticed what he thought was a skull in the same area where Caylee's bones were eventually recovered near her grandparents' home where she sometimes lived. He says he called police three times and they came out to check but didn't find anything.

"I saw an object that looked a little odd to me," Kronk said. "I told them I saw an object that looked like a skull."

Defense attorney Cheney Mason asked Kronk if he touched the object or moved it when he saw it in August.

"I never was closer than 30 feet to that bag," Kronk said.

In December in the same area, Kronk acknowledged to briefly lifting the bagged remains "about four feet off the ground" because they were slightly obscured by some debris. He denied a suggestion by the defense that his motive in moving the remains was to collect a reward.

Mason asked Kronk if he shared what he'd seen in August with anyone else. Kronk said he mentioned it to a roommate, but nothing beyond that. Kronk also denied telling his son in November that he was going to be famous for finding the remains, saying he was "mistaken."

Nearly every member of the jury was taking notes while Kronk testified.

Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Caylee's death and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

The prosecution contends she used duct tape to suffocate the toddler. The defense says the girl drowned in her grandparents' swimming pool.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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