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Casey Anthony lawyers return to court to fight reimbursement motion

By the CNN Wire Staff
Prosecutors want Casey Anthony to pay for the cost associated with her criminal case.
Prosecutors want Casey Anthony to pay for the cost associated with her criminal case.
  • NEW: Anthony tells her probation officer she's jobless, hasn't had alcohol, the state says
  • Bill for prosecution's expenses in Casey Anthony case is "sour grapes," lawyer says
  • A prosecutor says Anthony lies about Caylee's disappearance led to investigative costs
  • Prosecutors want Anthony to reimburse authorities for at least $516,000

Orlando, Florida (CNN) -- Billing Casey Anthony more than $516,000 for expenses incurred in trying -- and failing -- to prove the Orlando woman guilty of murder in the death of her daughter is little more than sour grapes, one of her attorneys argued in a hearing Friday.

Prosecutors say they have a right to demand repayment from Anthony because she was convicted on four counts of lying to investigators in the disappearance of her daughter Caylee in 2008.

But defense attorney J. Cheney Mason said the bill is unfair after his client's acquittal on the most serious charge of murder.

"What about the justice for the defense that won?" Mason asked Orange County Judge Belvin Perry Jr. "We're now going to get whacked again ... pay for everything they did, their trips, their meals, their books, and their experts, none of which, none of which, had anything to do with the crimes of conviction," Mason said.

Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick told Perry he should approve their request.

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"The argument of the defense completely misses the point of my position as it relates to the costs of prosecution specifically," she said. "And that is that, but for Ms. Anthony's lying to law enforcement at the inception of this investigation, there would be no costs of investigation."

Perry did not rule on the request following Friday's lengthy hearing, which Anthony did not attend. He will research legal briefs due next week and research the law before issuing a ruling.

The Florida Department of Corrections said in a statement Friday that Anthony checked in with her probation officer -- on Thursday -- as ordered under the terms of her sentence following her 2010 conviction on check fraud charges.

Anthony told her probation officer that she is unemployed, has not earned any income over the past 30 days and has not enrolled in any educational or vocational classes. "No violations have been noted" of Anthony's probation, which include prohibitions against illicit drug use and excessive drinking, the department said.

The meeting took place out of the public eye, as Anthony has remained in seclusion since her release from prison in July following her acquittal on murder charges in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter. In fact, corrections officials have not disclosed her whereabouts, citing concerns for her safety.

Caylee Anthony's skeletal remains were found in December 2008 in woods less than a mile from the home she shared with her mother and grandparents.

Anthony's attorneys admitted she lied to authorities during the search for her daughter, saying she knew that she was dead. Her attorneys have alleged that the girl died accidentally.

In seeking reimbursement, prosecutors have cited a Florida law that allows the state to fine defendants in criminal cases to recoup money spent.

Prosecutors say the Orange County Sheriff's Office spent $293,123.77 on the case and the district attorney's office spent at least $140,390.60. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement spent $71,939.56 and the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation spent $10,645.38, according to court documents.

But Mason said prosecutors are asking for reimbursement for items that have nothing to do with the crimes of which she was convicted. He said, should Perry find that there is some merit to the state's motion, that he should limit expenses to only those costs related to police efforts to locate Caylee Anthony.

InSession's Grace Wong contributed to this report.