Casey Anthony: Florida Judge Rules to Unseal 'Inflammatory' Tape

PHOTO: Video showing Casey Anthony
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A Florida judge has ruled that a "highly inflammatory" jailhouse video of acquitted murder suspect Casey Anthony may be unsealed for public view.

The tape was sealed after the court ruled that its release would have made it difficult for Anthony to have a fair trial.

"There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in jail," Judge Belvin Perry wrote in his ruling. "The jail video, as the court has previously recognized, is a public record subject to disclosure."

The grainy security video shows Anthony sitting in a waiting room. There is no audio, but after she appears to hear something -- reportedly the televised news that a child's body was found in a swampy area near the Anthony home -- and puts her hands and forearms across her stomach, as she begins to slowly rock backwards and forwards. Her breathing seems to quicken and her chest can be seen rising and falling.

The remains were not identified as Caylee's until more than a week later.

After a while on the video, Anthony is taken into another room where her attorney, Jose Baez, sits down with her and appears to console her.

Perry wrote that the original order to seal the tape could be reversed because, "The reason for sealing it -- 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 Anthony's right to a fair trial -- is no longer applicable because the trial has been completed and she has been acquitted of all charges other than lying to law enforcement officer."

Perry heard arguments Wednesday regarding whether the jailhouse video should be unsealed, but adjourned the hearing without a ruling.

Baez argued that unsealing the tape would be an invasion of his client Anthony's privacy under HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which governs patients' rights to privacy, because Anthony was in the jail's medical facility.

It was pointed out, however, that Anthony was in a waiting room, not in a treatment room.

"I think that Mr. Baez will agree with the court's assessment that this is a waiting room, but Mr. Baez's argument is since they gave her some medication, it transformed the waiting room into a treatment room," Perry said.

In the ruling, Perry wrote that Anthony was "not entitled to privacy" under HIPAA while she was in jail and that the administration of a sedative in the waiting room did not "convert the incident into a medical evaluation."

"Under the instant circumstances, 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 or condition," the ruling said.

An attorney for the state of Florida countered Baez's argument by saying, "Unquestionably ... the privacy issues are miniscule compared to the public right to know."

Perry acknowledged the argument from the defense that the making of the soundless videotape was set up, as he said, to "observe whatever reaction that one can glean from the tape."

"I think that was a generous choice of words," Baez said. "'Torture' comes to my mind."

On the tape, Orange County jail officials reportedly told Anthony a meter reader stumbled upon the remains near Suburban Drive, according to an Orlando Sentinel article from 2009.

At the time of the Dec. 11, 2008 video, the body had not been identified as the remains of her 2-year-old daughter. Positive identification came eight days later.

SEE PHOTOS: Casey Anthony: From Arrest to Acquittal

The court took what is called an "unusual step" and sealed the video on June 17, 2009, claiming that allowing the public to see it would be "highly inflammatory," and that the court "could not absolutely protect the defendant's right to a fair trial," according to the order to seal the document.

Orlando television station WKMG-TV Local 6 filed the request to unseal the video on July 6, just before the verdict came down.

The station argued in its filing, "Now that the trial has started and the jury is sequestered, no prejudice to the defendant's right to a fair trial could incur."

While other pieces of evidence could be seen as damaging, the court said that "no other item comes to mind that would carry a similar inflammatory impact."

Anthony was acquitted in July of charges of killing her daughter Caylee. After her release from jail, Anthony went into hiding amid death threats.

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