Mason said George Anthony's reaction was "basically none." "He looked at me ... I turned sideways a little bit, he clapped his hands down on his thighs -- let out a big sigh but didn't say anything," Mason said.

"He never admitted doing anything," Mason said. "All we had were the letters and (separately) the statements Casey had made to the psychiatrist."

Next it was Cindy Anthony's turn. "We called Mom in, Cindy, and told her and she immediately welled up with emotion, cried, was very upset," Mason said.

Once a jury was selected it was time for the evidentiary portion of the trial. Baez gave the opening statements. In the midst of telling the jury what the evidence would show, he delivered a bombshell that turned the case on its head by telling the jury that his client was a victim of sexual abuse by her father.

The country was stunned and so was Mason, who was sitting next to Anthony in the courtroom.

"I didn't know that he was going to say that. We had talked about all aspects of it, and I did not know. I don't know if anybody knew that he was going to say that other than himself," Mason recalled.

I asked Mason if he was concerned the defense would not be able to establish this with evidence as promised during the opening statement. Mason said he was.

"Yes, I was concerned about that because I knew we didn't have the ability to prove that unless George got on the stand and confessed," he said.

The prosecution responded by making George Anthony its first witness. The first question Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton asked him was whether he had sexually abused his daughter. George Anthony responded with a definitive no.

The trial went on for weeks. Witness after witness took the stand for the prosecution in the largely circumstantial case. They finally rested their case on June 15, 2011. Then it was the defense's turn.

Anthony's defense attorneys maintained that Caylee was not murdered at all. They said the child drowned in the Anthony's above-ground pool, and that Casey Anthony and her father panicked upon finding her there and covered up the death. George Anthony denied that in his testimony.

In the midst of the defense case, Mason described how out-of-court conversations with the prosecution suddenly turned to possible plea discussions. Anthony was approached with the possibility.

"Casey got very angry about that. She got very angry to hear talk about it. She didn't want to hear it." Mason said. "Casey would fight it 'til her last breath. She didn't kill her daughter."

Mason said he believes it took a lot of courage and strength for Anthony to end any talk of a plea agreement. She knew what was at stake in this death penalty trial.

So, plea discussions were stopped in their tracks, Mason said, and the trial went on.

Then, on July 5, 2011, after deliberating for 10 hours, jurors announced they had reached a verdict.

"She was holding her breath like a deep sea diver, waiting as we all were," Mason said.

Anthony was acquitted by the 12-person jury on the most serious charges, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. But the jury convicted her on four misdemeanors of providing false information to law enforcement officers.

Anthony now lives in an undisclosed location in Florida and doesn't go out of the home she is living in because of the public hate and continued threats to her life, Mason said.

"She has to live constantly on guard. She can't go out in public," Mason said.