Video: Anthony case ‘difficult for lawyers, very difficult for jury’

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    >>> linda kinney badden is a former member of casey anthony a's defense team. i how would you say the defense has done in the close?

    >> very well considering what they had to work with. let's face it. she is hated. this woman is hated. linda drane burdick pointed to the fact of why you hate her, 31 days, tattoo, hot body contest. it's very difficult to defend somebody who has that kind of aura around them.

    >> then jeff ashton told the jurors that there are two ways to get to a first degree murder trial. you can go through premeditation. you can get there through some aggravated child abuse charge. that's bad news for the defense ?

    >> terrible, multiple choice. six people can say this thing, six can say this. you can go to the death penalty , lethal injection, even if they don't agree with why.

    >> how do you think the death penalty weighs with the jurors? it's one thing to to bring a murder charge to someone who you know might be executed as a result.

    >> right. it's very heavy. i once tried a murder case and a juror had wet her pants on the jury because the death penalty is to weighty. when you're a defense attorney you pick a different jury. you may pick one that will convict but not the death penalty . it's a whole different dynamic in that courtroom but it's very hard on everyone.

    >> do you think prosecutors have done enough to bring a first degree murder charge?

    >> you can't get around the emotion. if the jurors can't get around the emotion and look at lack of evidence, they will convict her.

    >> emotion, whether it's been emotion from casey herself, emotion from george anthony . i wonder who you think the jurors will respond to more in the end?

    >> jurors generally respond to emotion. hopefully the defense has picked one juror that can say, hey, let's look at the evidence, let's see if there really is a cause of death here, let's see really if she would have murdered this child and put the murder women with the body in dispos disposal. there's a lot of issues if you take your time that don't make sense. that's what intrigued everybody. there's a mystery here.

    >> i want to get your take on the deliberation time period . first full day. if it takes a long time, is that telling us something about what the charges may be?

    >> for a very long time would be a hung jury . but if you just have a little bit of a time, it's going to be good for the prosecution. if you get to the end of the week it may be okay for the defense . may mean they looked at the evidence and taken the charges. remember, they have to decide whether there's felony murder , murder,ing aggravated manslaughter.

    >> we're all waiting here at a distance waiting for the verdict.

    >> right.

    >> as an attorney and even for the attorneys' clients, what is this time period like for them?

    >> you can't sleep, you can't eat. there's nothing else they can do. the major -- defense team that was in the courtroom for the guilt phase has already hand it it off for the death penalty phase even if there isn't because somebody has to prepare. there is this feeling of i just can't do anymore, i've done my best.

    >> one allast question. behavior of the attorneys. during the close there were smirks of some of the prosecutors to some of the defense attorneys as they were giving the close. do jr.s respond to that? here's one that appears to be a smile.

    >> jurors ldo look at the attorneys. but if the attorney loses credibility the evidence they present loses credibility. that's what you have to be concerned with if you're in a case.

    >> we're all on tinder hooks here.

    >> absolutely.

    >> thank you.

NBC News and news services
updated 7/5/2011 11:04:31 AM ET 2011-07-05T15:04:31

Casey Anthony's failure to report her daughter missing for 31 days is "absolutely devastating" to her chances of escaping a guilty verdict in her murder trial, legal experts said Tuesday.

NBC News legal analyst Savannah Guthrie, speaking on the TODAY show, suggested that this would be an important factor in the case, as the jury of seven women and five men continue their deliberations.

"It's hard to come up with any explanation consistent with innocence for failing to report your child missing for 31 days," she said, saying that period was "absolutely devastating" to the defense's case.

Former prosecutor Star Jones also told TODAY that the prosecution had made a strong argument about that 31-day period, which was "indicative not of someone who is in grief, but of someone who is showing a guilty conscience."

Prosecutors argued Monday morning that the 25-year-old Anthony killed her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in June 2008 because the toddler interrupted her carefree partying and love life.

Asked about the lack of strong evidence of murder — no cause of death was established — Jones said commentators initially thought it would be hard to prove premeditation to get a first-degree verdict.

Vote: Do you think the jury will convict Casey Anthony of first-degree murder? (on this page)

But Florida's law contains a different route to the death penalty.

"If you prove that Casey Anthony committed aggravated child abuse or was in the process of committing aggravated child abuse — say, by putting tape on her mouth and chloroforming the baby in order to keep her quiet — that's enough to get you to murder in the first degree, if the baby dies as a result of those actions," Jones told TODAY.

"A lot of people say it could come down to some jurors believing just that scenario and some jurors believing she did it on purpose," she added.

Video: Sanders: Anthony jury full of 'poker faces'

Guthrie pointed out that the jurors do not have to be unanimous on this issue — six could decide it was felony murder and six could decide it was pre-meditated.

"As long as they all agree it's first-degree murder, we're looking at the top charge and the death penalty phase of the case," she said.

'This woman is hated'
Linda Kenney Baden, who was previously a member of Anthony's defense team, told TODAY that the defense had done well, but that the case likely hinged on whether the jury would go with their emotional response or consider the lack of hard evidence.

"I think they've done very well considering what they've had to work with. Let's face it, she is hated, this woman is hated," she said. "It's very difficult to defend somebody who has that kind of aura around them."

"You can't get around that emotion," she added. "If the jurors can't get around the emotion and look at the lack of evidence they'll convict her... Hopefully, the defense has picked one juror that can say 'Hey, let's look at the evidence.'"

Story: Casey Anthony found not guilty of murdering daughter

"There's a lot of issues, if you take your time, that don't make sense," Baden added. "There's a mystery here and we may never know all the answers."

Baden said considering a verdict that carries the death penalty would be a "very heavy" burden on the jury.

"I once tried a murder case and a juror actually had wet her pants on the jury because of the death penalty, it's so weighty," she said. "It's very, very hard on everyone."

She said if the jury returned quickly, that would be a good sign for the prosecution, if they returned at the end of the week, then the defense would be hopeful.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Vote: Do you think the jury will convict Casey Anthony of first-degree murder?