Zenaida Gonzalez seeks punitive damages against Casey Anthony
Anthony remains jailed on murder charge
ORLANDO, Fla. – Zenaida Gonzalez, the woman who shares the same name as the baby sitter whom Casey Anthony claims kidnapped her slain daughter, Caylee, is seeking punitive damages against Anthony in connection to a defamation lawsuit she recently filed, according to court documents obtained by Local 6 News.
Anthony, 22, remains jailed on first-degree murder charges in the death of her daughter, whose remains were found in a wooded lot in December. Anthony told investigators in mid-July that she left Caylee with a baby sitter named Zenaida Gonzalez at an Orange County apartment complex in mid-June, but the pair was gone when she returned for her daughter.
A woman named Zenaida Gonzalez -- the only person with that name who has a known link to the apartment complex -- filed a lawsuit against Anthony, claiming defamation and emotional distress.
Anthony said the woman suing her is not the person with whom she left Caylee and filed a countersuit against Gonzalez, claiming the lawsuit is frivolous.
Gonzalez's attorneys, John Morgan and Keith Mitnik, on Tuesday fired back at Anthony's attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed, attacking her claim that she cannot be sued for defamation for any lies she may have told investigators.
In the filing, Morgan and Mitnik said the law "does not give her a free pass to trash Zenaida Gonzalez" and they argued that not all of the alleged defamatory statements were made to authorities, saying Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony -- at her daughter's prompting -- identified Gonzalez as a possible kidnapper.
The document also said if "the false and defamatory words themselves were so extreme," the law says Anthony is not protected. "Calling someone a child kidnapper falls clearly into (that) category," they argued.
Gonzalez's attorneys are seeking punitive damages, meaning any other damages Gonzalez would get for emotional pain, humiliation or other suffering would be at least tripled if Gonzalez wins her lawsuit.
To be granted punitive damages, Gonzalez has to prove Casey Anthony's actions were so "willful, wanton or reckless" that she deserves to be punished financially.
As for collecting money from someone in jail, homeowner's policies often contain liability coverage for residents of the home. If punitive damages were granted, Gonzalez's attorneys could begin to explore Casey Anthony's financial status, including, perhaps, how she may be paying her attorney fees or any entertainment deals that may have been reached.
A hearing on the developments has been set for mid-May.
Meanwhile, Casey Anthony's parents have moved to block questioning by Gonzalez's attorneys in the civil case.
George and Cindy Anthony were expected to be deposed on Thursday, but that's now on hold, Local 6 News reported. Lee Anthony, Casey Anthony's brother, was to be questioned on Friday.
As for the criminal case against Casey Anthony, the state has given the defense two DVDs, one of which shows her behavior at sheriff's headquarters on the day she was indicted on a murder charge. The other shows Lee Anthony meeting with Casey Anthony's last boyfriend, Tony Lazzaro.
Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.
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