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Report: Florida won't prosecute Anthony's mom

A sheriff in Florida says Casey Anthony's mother could face perjury charges for her testimony during her daughter's murder trial.
Caylee Marie Anthony
A photo released by the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla. of Caylee Marie Anthony. Police investigators told reporters on Monday that early on they were focused on finding the toddler alive.Anonymous / AP
/ Source: staff and news service reports

Casey Anthony's mother Cindy will not face criminal perjury charges, a spokeswoman for the Florida District Attorney's Office told NBC station WESH on Tuesday.

The word came hours after a Florida sheriff told reporters that perjury charges were possible for Cindy Anthony's testimony during her daughter's murder trial. He also said, however, it was up to the state to decide whether to press charges.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said that Cindy Anthony may have lied on the witness stand when she was testifying about who searched for chloroform on the family computer. Cindy Anthony initially told police she did not search for chloroform, but at the trial she said she did.

The sheriff also revealed that authorities are investigating a witness tampering allegation. He would not elaborate.

He spoke to reporters during a wide-ranging news conference a week after Casey Anthony was acquitted of murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony.

Police also said Casey Anthony's story that a nanny had taken her missing daughter sent investigators on a wild goose chase that sucked away vital police resources and inhibited the search for the girl's body.

Behind a huge blown-up picture of Caylee Anthony, police investigators said that early in the investigation they stayed focus on the whereabouts of the toddler. They said they followed up on more than 6,000 tips, including reports that the girl had been spotted alive.

Police later learned that the nanny, whom Casey identified as Zenaida Gonzalez, was completely made up. Her defense lawyer conceded during the trial that the story was fictional.

A utility worker found the girl's body on Dec. 11, 2008, in woods near where she lived with her mother and grandparents.

At trial, Casey Anthony's defense lawyers said the girl had drowned in a backyard swimming pool and that her father had helped dispose of the body. The story didn't surprise investigators.

"We knew they had to come up with something," said Orange County detective Yuri Melich.

Anthony was acquitted last week of first-degree murder and other major charges involving the death of her Caylee.

She was convicted on four counts of lying to law enforcement and sentenced to four years in jail. She has been credited for time served and good behavior and is scheduled for release Sunday.

On Monday, one of Casey Anthony's defense lawyers said he's worried about her safety once she's released from jail.

Cheney Mason told the NBC's "Today" show that he doesn't know where Anthony will go when she's freed jail. He said she would need time and counseling to re-enter society after being jailed for nearly three years before and during her high-profile trial.

Mason said Anthony's relations with her parents were "pretty well burned" after the trial, where her defense team contended she was sexually abused by her father. Her father, George Anthony, denied the claims.

Jail records show Casey Anthony refused a visit Friday from her mother, Cindy Anthony.