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Judge OKs release of 'inflammatory' Casey Anthony video

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:33 PM EDT, Fri September 30, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Anthony was in jail room where TV carried news remains had been found
  • In the video, Anthony is sitting in the waiting room of a jail medical facility
  • Judge Perry says there's no privacy in jail and HIPAA regulations don't apply
  • Another judge had sealed the video in 2009, calling its content inflammatory

(CNN) -- Video showing Casey Anthony rocking and hunched over upon hearing remains had been found in the search for her 2-year-old daughter was released Friday, after a Florida judge overturned a decision to seal the footage because it was considered inflammatory.

The security video -- which has no audio and was taken in a "waiting area of the medical facility" at a county jail -- was taken in December 2008 after remains were discovered in woods near her grandparent's Orlando home. By that point, the girl hadn't been seen in public for six months and investigators had spent five months looking for her.

Just over a week later, on December 19, 2008, authorities determined the remains were those of young Caylee.

In the footage, Casey Anthony is seen rocking back and forth in a chair. After a few minutes, law enforcement officers talk to Anthony and take her to another room.

Orange County Superior Court Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. issued his ruling on Friday afternoon, two days after a hearing in response to Orlando TV station WKMG's July motion to unseal the footage.

In his decision, Perry recalled how then Judge Stan Strickland had sealed the video in May 2009, saying that while he was "loathe to shield any public record" he believed that it was inflammatory.

Anthony's defense team, in a motion filed in 2009, cited testimony from two Orange County Sheriff's Office employees stating they felt it was "cruel" that the then-suspect was "distressed" in the waiting room for 30 to 45 minutes on the day news broke that the remains were found.

The television was on in the room, broadcasting news about the discovery, according to court testimony.

At the time, Anthony was awaiting trial on murder charges and others related to the death of her young daughter. A jury acquitted her on that and other charges in July, though she was convicted on four lesser charges related to misleading authorities in the case.

"The reason for sealing (the video) -- Ms. Anthony's right to a fair trial -- is no longer applicable because the trial has been completed and she has been acquitted of all charges other than lying to law enforcement officers," wrote Perry, before ordering the state attorney's office to release the video.

During Wednesday's hearing, defense attorney Jose Baez argued that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prevented the tape from being released in public because Casey received medical attention while she was in the waiting room.

The news station argued that regulations pertain to medical data and not treatment, and insisted that the tape is part of the public record.

In his ruling, Perry found that "the jail video does not constitute a medical record or other form of health care data relating to the evaluation or treatment of Ms. Anthony's physical or mental health condition."

The judge also added that "there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in jail."

The ruling is the latest setback for Anthony and her defense team. Last week, Perry ordered her to pay $217,000 to authorities for costs related to investigating Caylee's disappearance.

Officials had argued that if it were not for the 25-year-old Orlando woman's lies, investigators would not have had to spend the time and money to find her daughter's body.

Anthony's attorneys have claimed that Caylee died accidentally when she drowned in the family's' pool.

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