Maybe crime does pay if you do business with ABC News.
Shocking details from a Florida courtroom reveal that Casey Anthony, the 23-year-old mother accused of brutally murdering her two-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008, received a payment of $200,000 in a “deal” from ABC News.
According to FOXNews.com, the information surfaced in court in an effort by Anthony’s lawyer, Jose Baez, to have her declared as being indigent, which would make the State of Florida foot the bill for what is expected to be a very expensive trial. If convicted, Anthony could face the death penalty.
Anthony argued that she cannot afford to pay for the trial. When probed by Judge Stan Strickland about the $205,000 that Anthony claimed to have already shelled out for her defense, FOX reported that Baez fumbled for words: “$5,000 came from a donor someone who wanted to contribute to Ms. Anthony’s defense, and $200,000 came from, um, a deal was done by my client with the American Broadcast Company.”
While the particulars of the deal have not yet been divulged, Baez explained that the funds had already been paid by ABC and spent by Anthony.
Is $200,000 the going rate offered by ABC? That, coincidentally, is the exact same amount the network was accused of paying Joe Jackson for an exclusive interview following the sudden death of late pop icon Michael Jackson last summer. The outlet came under fire from the news world and the general public for the accusations. However, ABC insists the payment was made to a production company for rare video footage of the family recorded more than a year before Jackson’s death.
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A July 14, 2009 article published by the Los Angeles Times quoted the spokesman for ABC News, Jeffrey Schneider, as saying, “We don’t pay for interviews, period.”
This blatant example of checkbook journalism by the television network is only exacerbated by the fact that, according to the New York Post, the media giant recently announced plans to lay off almost a third of its employees to cut back on costs.
Anthony’s “deal” payment certainly puts her well above the average industry income bracket.
We spoke with three people from Jose Baez’s law office; none of them would comment. We are awaiting responses from another representative from that organization and ABC News.
Go to Al Tompkins, Al’s Morning Meeting at Poynter Online, to read more.