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Casey Anthony Trial: Lawyers Raise Incest Issues, Question FBI Witness About Paternity Tests

First Posted: 06/16/11 08:34 PM ET Updated: 08/16/11 06:12 AM ET

Casey Anthony's defense team came out swinging this afternoon, when lawyers asked a DNA expert if law enforcement had ordered a paternity test to determine if Anthony's older brother was the father of her child.

Anthony, 25, is accused of multiple charges, including capital murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and misleading law enforcement in the case of the death of her daughter, Caylee. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.

"Were you asked to conduct a paternity test for Lee Anthony as to being the potential father of Caylee Anthony," Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez, asked serology expert Heather Seubert.

Seubert, who worked in the forensic DNA analysis unit at the FBI in 2008, said she was assigned to the Anthony case and examined several key pieces of evidence.

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton immediately objected to Baez's question and Judge Belvin Perry quickly sent jurors to lunch and called a sidebar with the attorneys.

Ashton argued the line of questioning was irrelevant and not in good faith. He said it implied that law enforcement had requested the test.

Baez and Ashton got into a heated exchange about the subject, at which time Perry told the two men to lower their voices.

"I don't have a hearing problem and the amplification of questions, objections, I don't need them," Perry said.

Outside the presence of the jury, Seubert told Perry that Nick Savage, another FBI agent who was working on the case, asked her to conduct DNA tests in October 2008, to see if Anthony's brother, Lee Anthony, was Caylee's father.

Perry ultimately instructed Baez to revise his question and warned him not to ask questions that would lead to an inference. Perry added, "I'm not even going to venture a guess ... as to your motivation."

When the jury returned from lunch, the line of questioning continued.

"I wanted to ask you if you conducted, what would be considered a paternity test, to determine if Lee Anthony was the biological father of Caylee Anthony," Baez asked.

Seubert affirmed a DNA comparison had been made and replied, "Based on the STR typing results, the DNA obtained from ... Caylee Anthony could not have originated from a biological offspring of ... Lee Anthony."

Baez did not ask Seubert if the same test was conducted on Casey Anthony's father, George Anthony. As a result, jurors are unaware her father was also tested and excluded.

TRIAL PHOTOS:

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  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Casey Anthony goes over paperwork during a break on the final day of arguments in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Assist. State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick presents the final portion of rebuttal at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 5, 2011

    Casey Anthony stands for the arrival of the jury at the start of the second day of jury deliberations in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Spectators in the courtroom listen to the rebuttal presented by Assist. State Attorney Jeff Ashton on the final day of arguments in the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton gives the final rebuttal in the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Judge Belvin Perry listens as Assist. State Attorney Jeff Ashton present rebuttal on the last day of arguments in the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Casey Anthony with her attorney Dorothy Clay Sims on the last day of arguments in Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Cindy Anthony, wearing bracelets in tribute to her granddaughter Caylee Anthony, listens during the final day of arguments in the trial of her daughter Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Defense attorney Cheney Mason presents a burden of proof chart during closing arguments of the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Jose Baez points and yells in the direction of the prosecution table during his closing arguments in the Casey Anthony murder trial in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Judge Belvin Perry called a sidebar during the arguments to deal with the outburst. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder charges in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted on the charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    George Anthony listens to closing arguments in the murder trial of his daughter, Casey, in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday, July 3, 2011. Casey Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Casey Anthony reacts while listening to the state's closing arguments in her murder trial in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty, if convicted.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton presents closing arguments for the state in the murder trial of Casey Anthony in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Casey Anthony gestures during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, has plead not guilty in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Spectator Matthew Bartlett is taken away by sheriff deputies on a contempt charge for his obscene gesture toward assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton during Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Casey Anthony, 25, has plead not guilty in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Lee Anthony testifies during the murder trial of his sister Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse on June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Anthony's defense attorneys argued that she didn't kill her two-year-old daughter Caylee, but that she accidentally drowned.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Krystal Holloway, also known as River Cruz, reacts when questioned about transcripts from her police statements during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, June 30, 2011. Holloway claims to have had an affair with George Anthony, Casey's father.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 29, 2011

    George Anthony reacts during his testimony in the murder trial of his daughter, Casey, in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Casey Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Casey Anthony sits in court at her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Lee Anthony, right, returns to his seat next to his mother Cindy Anthony after he testified in the murder trial of sister Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    An aerial photo showing the location where Caylee Anthony's remains were found is projected on a courtroom monitor in the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Roy Kronk, a meter reader for Orange County, testifies during the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Tuesday, June 28, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found Caylee Anthony's remains, testifies in the murder trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    Defense attorney Jose Baez, left and Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton, center, look over evidence with witness Dr. Kenneth Furton, a forensic chemist, during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, June 27, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    Casey Anthony, left, listens to her attorney Anne Finnell before the start of court in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, June 27, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    Jason Forgey, a canine handler for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, testifies during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Monday, June 27, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows a portion of a Powerpoint presentation entered into evidence at the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 27, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Cindy Anthony testifies during her daughter Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony is charged with killing her daughter, Caylee in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Casey Anthony sits at the defense table during a recess during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, June 23, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Evidence is lined up in front of Dr. Barry Logan, an analytic chemist, as he waits to testify on day 26 of Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Anthony is charged with killing her daughter, Caylee.

  • Casey Anthony Trial Photos

    An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows a photograph entered into evidence during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Judge Belvin Perry on day 26 of Casey Anthony's 1st-degree murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial Photos

    A picture of computer reports from the Anthony desktop computer is shown on a courtroom monitor on day 26 of Casey Anthony's first degree murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008. (AP Photo/Red Huber, Pool)

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Casey Anthony talks with her attorney Jose Baez, left, during a recess in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Cindy Anthony listens in court during the trial of her daughter Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial Photos

    An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows a photo entered into evidence in the trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Dr. Michael Sigman testifies about air samples during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Maureen Bottrell, a forensic geologist for the FBI, testifies in the trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Judge Belvin Perry, center, holds a sidebar conference with attorneys in the Casey Anthony murder trail in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2011. An infuriated Perry warned the Anthony defense and prosecution today that he is getting fed up with games being played during the course of the trial. Court was recessed early without explanation.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton listens to Judge Belvin Perry's directions during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 20, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Defense attorney Jose Baez, second from right, and his client Casey Anthony listen to assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton talk to Judge Belvin Perry, not pictured, before the start of court at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 20, 2011. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Casey Anthony enters the courtroom for the 22nd day of her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 20, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial

    During forensic expert Dr. Spitz's testimony, Casey Anthony turns her head away when photos of the skull of her daughter, Caylee Marie, were shown at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 18, 2011

    Forensic expert Dr. Werner Spitz testifies in the trial of Casey Anthony, talking about autopsy results of the remains of Caylee Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 18, 2011

    Chief Judge Belvin Perry expresses deep frustration at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011, that defense attorney Jose Baez attempted to elicit critical testimony from William Rodriguez, testimony that had not been disclosed to the prosecution earlier. Perry may end up punishing Baez with a contempt finding, but he reserved ruling on that matter. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 18, 2011

    Casey Anthony, right, consoles her attorney Jose Baez after Chief Judge Belvin Perry expressed deep frustration that defense attorney Jose Baez attempted to elicit critical testimony from William Rodriguez, testimony that had not been disclosed to the prosecution earlier. Perry may end up punishing Baez with a contempt finding, but he reserved ruling on that matter. at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    Casey Anthony is shown at the defense table before the start of court in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    Dr. Tim Huntington, forensic entomologist, testifies during the murder trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    An evidence photo showing trash found in the trunk of a car is held by an attorney during the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    George Anthony listens to testimony during the murder trial of his daughter Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 16, 2011

    Casey Anthony, with her attorney Cheney Mason, during day 20 of her first-degree murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, June 16, 2011.



The powerful testimony about paternity is largely considered a win for the defense who, up until today, were unable to get testimony before the jury about alleged abuses they claim Casey Anthony suffered.

During opening arguments, Baez claimed Caylee died on June 16, 2008, when she drowned in her family's swimming pool. He said Anthony did not contact the authorities because she was unable to tell the truth after years of sordid sexual abuse that she suffered at the hands of her own father.

"It all began when Casey was eight years old and her father came into her room and began to touch her inappropriately and it escalated ... She could be 14 years old, have [had] her father's penis in her mouth, and go to school and play with the other kids as if nothing [had] happened," Baez said.

The defense attorney also took aim at Lee Anthony, alleging he tried to "follow in his father's footsteps."

"On certain occasions when he was a teenager, [Lee] attempted to also touch his sister, although it didn't go as far," Baez said, adding, "These ugly secrets will come out at this trial. And you'll see what makes Casey Anthony act the way she does."

Baez tried to make good on his promise during the third day of the trial when he attempted to question Anthony's ex-boyfriend, Anthony "Tony" Lazzaro, about a conversation he allegedly had with Anthony in June or July of 2008. Lazzaro said she told him that Lee Anthony had attempted to "feel her up."

Lazzaro said he could not recall if Anthony had offered a time frame for when the alleged abuse had occurred, but said it was "definitely in the past ... not anything in the present."

Lazzaro also said that Anthony told him that her father, George Anthony, had physically abused her.

"Hitting -- that's all I can remember," Lazzaro said.

Perry ultimately ruled the jury would not be able to hear the testimony.

Today's testimony, however, may leave questions in the minds of jury as to why someone in law enforcement would have even been curious whether Anthony's brother could have potentially been the father of her child.

Earlier Thursday, Seubert reported she tested swabs taken from items in the trunk of Anthony's car, including the spare tire cover and the trunk liner. All of those items were tested for the presence of blood and were negative, the expert testified.

In addition to testifying about Anthony's vehicle, Seubert said she also examined several items that were taken from Anthony's closet, including clothing investigators believe she wore on June 16, the day Caylee was last seen alive. While several of the items had faint stains, all were negative for the presence of blood, she said.

Since the beginning of the trial, prosecutors have dismissed the defense's explanation of Caylee's death and have claimed Anthony killed her child by placing duct tape over her mouth. Duct tape was found wrapped around Caylee's skull when a county worker found her remains on December 11, 2008.

Toward the end of her testimony today, Seubert testified that the duct tape -- a vital piece of evidence in the case -- had been contaminated. During testing, DNA found on the tape did not match any members of the Anthony family. Instead, it was found to be a match with another forensic examiner who had analyzed the duct tape.

Today's testimony marked the third anniversary of Caylee's reported disappearance.

EXPANDED COVERAGE:

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