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Bounty hunter says he will sue Casey Anthony

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
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Bounty hunter to sue Casey Anthony
  • Leonard Padilla says he is seeking $200,000
  • Padilla helped in the search for Caylee and bonded Casey Anthony out of jail
  • Padilla says he feels conned after watching Antony's trial
  • "They misled me, and it is definitely fraud," Padilla says

Read more about this story from CNN affiliate KCRA.

(CNN) -- A California bounty hunter says he will sue Casey Anthony and her defense attorney Jose Baez for misleading him when he helped search for her young daughter Caylee.

Leonard Padilla said he is seeking $200,000.

Padilla said Anthony's attorney allowed him to fly to Florida in 2008 and help search for Anthony's then-missing 2-year-old daughter.

Anthony left jail Sunday after being acquitted of murder charges in connection with the death of her daughter.

Padilla says when he heard Baez's opening statement during Anthony's murder trial he felt conned.

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"It turns out she knew where the child was all along," Padilla said. "They misled me, and it is definitely fraud."

At one point during the highly-publicized search for Caylee, Padilla offered a $25,000 reward for the girl's return.

He also says he spent $50,000 to bond out Anthony when she was initially jailed. He said he also brought in people to help provide security.

He said he talked to Anthony on many occasions during that time and that she never said she knew where Caylee was.

"She told me the babysitter stole the baby," Padilla said. "They were both feeding us that line. And now we know it was never true. We lost a lot of money."

Padilla says it may take a few weeks to get his lawsuit together.

Johnny Griffin, a California legal expert, told CNN affiliate KCRA that Padilla's lawsuit may have legal merit. But he may need to do some work to prove his case, Griffin said.

"Casey Anthony never testified at trial. So he needs to prove that she lied to him," Griffin told the affiliate.

Baez can also claim that Padilla made more money becoming part of the Casey Anthony story than it cost him to be part of the search, Griffin said.

When the lawsuit is filed, Padilla may have to get in line behind the others seeking money from Anthony.

Florida officials are asking that Anthony repay the state for the enormous cost of investigating the case.

In a motion filed earlier this month, the state called for a hearing so it can tally up costs and slap Anthony with the bill.

"The efforts and costs of the investigation were extensive and not immediately available and accordingly, the State of Florida respectfully requests this Court to set a hearing within 60 days to determine total costs," the motion says.

The motion cites a Florida law that allows the state to fine defendants in criminal cases to recoup money spent.

Texas EquuSearch, a firm that helped search for Anthony's daughter, also wants its money back.

The company said it used 4,200 searchers and spent $112,000 looking for Caylee in Florida after the girl was reported missing in July 2008.

Tim Miller, the head of company, has said he is suing because he believes Caylee never was missing.

Anthony also faces a lawsuit from a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez.

At the time of Caylee's disappearance, Anthony told family members and police that the little girl was with a nanny named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez. That account resulted in one of Anthony's lying convictions.

Anthony also claimed Gonzalez had kidnapped the toddler.

Authorities never found a nanny by that name who cared for Caylee. They did, however, find a woman named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, who denied ever meeting Anthony. Gonzalez then filed the defamation lawsuit. The judge handling the defamation lawsuit set Anthony's deposition for October 8.

CNN's Greg Morrison contributed to this report.

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