The Year: Trials and Tribulations

Part 2 of Katie Couric's special looking back at 2011.
7:44 | 12/15/11

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Transcript for The Year: Trials and Tribulations
Ever since the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby in the 1930s. All the way through the OJ Simpson murder trial. Americans have being captivated by high drama in the courts. -- 2011 much of it centered around just three people the doctor to a superstar. A young Florida mother and her two year old daughter. And an American exchange student from Seattle. Facing life in an Italian prison. Italian tabloids dubbed her -- Nazi Amanda not. Convicted of the brutal murder of her British roommate Meredith -- and facing 26 years. Possibly life and an eighteen by thirteen -- prison -- expensive you know rough sex gone wrong and which -- and masonic rites. Deputy much -- union -- for the trial she was vilified by the Italian media -- that -- double fox race and drug battle. Her defense attorneys retaliated. Cleaning -- and a victim of a biased jury. Shoddy forensics and a prosecutor. -- an -- theories about satanic rituals. There were books. Web -- A TV movie everyone having an opinion. What didn't exist was credible evidence against her. None of her. DNA of third man -- good day. Was found all over the place it became clear that people saw her as having been wrong and that she was a victim. Finally after nearly four years in prison -- a game changer. The judge allowed and independent review of the evidence that's part of an appeal. Amanda Knox was back in court -- his -- -- -- time media American media and British media all of them in the number in hills. And all of them waiting and wondering about that one -- acting moment. Win and yes. Amanda Knox would make the speech of her life pleading for her life and she did in the Italian -- perfected in prison. About eleven hours later. Defendants had -- not refute that she was free. Reading today is currently serving a sixteen year sentence for the murder -- The next day -- happy but overwhelmed Amanda Knox came home. My family's the most important thing right now I just want to go. He would spend so. She hats in Seattle while -- and countless offers for books and interviews. Thinking about finishing her degree. Even find new -- its. Very manipulative. Son CNN. Sanchez murder mystery. Some three months earlier in the opposite corner of the country and another murder trial -- America I was eating chips. -- not talk on top on top mom tot mom Casey Anthony. The 25 year old Florida mother on trial for the murder of her two year old daughter Hayley. Not since the OJ Simpson murder trial in 1995. Did -- think people. Heat have such -- why were so many Americans. Absolutely obsessed with the Casey Anthony case could you have -- girl next door seemingly to -- That her daughter was missing in fact Casey Anthony waited a jaw dropping 31 days -- even report her child missing -- thirty moved. Days. When there looking -- Missing finding dead she entered a hot body contest. Dance night after night. Got completely -- -- that was a couple boyfriends. And she went out got a -- -- the said the good lines and talent show it. Wasn't until her mother smelled a foul odor in Casey's car. If she made -- panicked call to 91 life. Good don't know how I got my daughter card Hyundai headed back I don't know that I learned on crime. And her husband -- -- absolutely -- not have learned a lot of violated better than -- -- -- She handed the phone to her daughter that you -- dollar amount paid out 31. -- 31 -- why why are you calling now why you -- -- Isabel. I have been talking it over and had gone through other resource to chart I. It was the heart and sole question that hung over -- -- -- of bombshell accusations. All the false allegations that we used in the defense that. Casey Anthony's father had molested her which -- her ally for a month about her -- thing missing. It was all cockamamie Wallace stone faced Casey Anthony watched her parents seem to fall apart but -- -- please god let this be. -- -- -- You were sucked into this domestic vortex. That was going on the Anthony family perhaps the most shocking the heart of the trial the -- -- -- Was when the jury came back after just ten hours of deliberations in the verdict we the jury find -- defendant not guilty yeah. -- -- -- Night direction was something that I've never seen. They were so angry. You know what to do with their anger. Jurors couldn't identify. Exactly. How this happened. Beyond a reasonable doubt but can't a woman who won the freedom ever really be freed -- went -- -- where he has not even her lawyer. She's gonna have a -- difficult life. Bad news. Ride. Sideshow. She's one of the most reviled people in -- -- -- Casey Anthony goes free. Doctor Conrad Murray we'll be sending the foreseeable future in an LA county jail. Superstar Michael Jackson linked forever in debt with the guilty doctor and his now famous drug Conrad Murray. Conrad Murray or at the reason we know what pro befall us. This is the sort of drug that he's generally only used in hospitals. So when someone's ordering gallons and gallons of it. For one person to be administered in a home that's beyond usual. The trial painted empathetic portrait of Michael Jackson's final days. The reality behind the perfectionist performer. His drug use. His voice on drugs sounding like it already was -- the grade. And the man he hired to take away that hurts. For 150000. Dollars a month Conrad Murray knew that he was it dope addict a junkie. -- kept feeding it to -- And they'll probably do about one year behind bars for killing. -- -- -- icon. Guilty or innocent and who says crying doesn't paint. Headline news saw its highest ratings ever it's covering the Casey Anthony. Writes opera it's a -- -- So they covered the Conrad Murray trial wall to wall does the public care is that what's motivating. The coverage. Or is the coverage feeding. The public interest for the answer to those questions. We'll see in court.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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