An expert witness in the Casey Anthony trial is now in a war of words with Florida police and prosecutors, after a New York Times report in which he allegedly accuses prosecutors of ignoring key evidence.
Canadian software engineer John Bradley, who developed a program police used to check Anthony's computer, released a statement via his Michigan attorney, Gregory Mair, on Wednesday.
"Mr. Bradley denies making any comments that either determined and/or implied any wrongdoing on behalf of the prosecutor’s office," the statement reads.
Mair's statement also claims there have been "erroneous media reports" that insinuated wrongdoing on the part of prosecutors.
But neither Bradley nor his attorney immediately returned calls to The Huffington Post, asking why the original statement published on his website -- the one which supports the Times' report -- disappeared. (We captured a cached version. See below.)
The article, published on Monday, is entitled "Software Designer Reports Error in Anthony Trial."
In it, Bradley said the prosecution's claim that Anthony had conducted extensive searches for the word "chloroform" had been based on inaccurate data. Someone using the Anthony computer had searched a website for "chloroform" only once and not 84 times, as prosecutors had asserted, Bradley said, according to the Times article.
On July 5, a jury of seven women and five men acquitted 25-year-old Anthony of killing her daughter, 2-year-old Caylee. The jury did, however, find Anthony guilty of four lesser counts of lying to police officers about the disappearance of her child -- a decision she is appealing. Credited with good behavior and time served, Anthony was released from jail early Sunday morning.
Much of the Times article referenced a press release that was posted to Bradley's website, cacheback.ca, on July 11. The press release has since been deleted, but a Google cache of it remains online. Bradley's attorney did not immediately reply to a request for comment on why the release was deleted.
In the release, titled "Computer Evidence in the Casey Anthony Trial -- A Post Mortem," Bradley complained he was not prepared to testify at Anthony's trial on June 8 and 9, 2011.
"I was called to the stand by the state to testify about a CacheBack report that I had never seen before and the contents of which I had no foreknowledge of," the release said. "This report was created by OCSD on June 3, 2011! I was only supposed to get up on the stand and say "I decoded the file” and that was it. Instead, I was tediously asked to read directly from the CacheBack report."
Bradley also referenced the 84 Internet searches for "chloroform."
"During my testimony, my attention was directed to an URL at "sci-spot.com" and I was asked to read aloud the visit count for that entry. As I stated in the courtroom, I said 'According to the report, 84 times.' Personally speaking, a single "chloroform.htm" with a visit count of 84 seemed odd. But, since I did not have any other details about the investigation, and since I did not investigate the evidence, that's all I could say."
On June 16, a supervising computer forensic investigator with the Orange County Sheriff's Office testified at Anthony's trial on behalf of the prosecution. It was during his testimony, Bradley said in the press release, that he realized there was a discrepancy with the search results.
"I called the OCSD Sergeant about his testimony and inquired about the discrepancy," the press release reads. "That's when he said that he KNEW about this discrepancy LONG AGO. When asked, "'What did you do about it?' he replied 'that he visually inspected the URL within the Firefox 2 history file in question and observed the number 84 nearby (a couple of lines below) and assumed that it was correct.'"
At this point in the trial, there were, according to the press release, two "inconsistent reports" before the court. In an effort to fix the mistakes, Bradley said he advised the state attorney and the sheriff's office of the problems between June 16 and 19 and "prepared an assortment of published results for OCSD and the state prosecutor," which he said he provided in advance of the state's rebuttal.
"I even offered to fly down there overnight at my own expense to set the record straight and explain the discrepancy," he said. "Since the fate of [a] woman's life could lay in this critical piece of information, I did everything in my power to remedy the situation, or at least mitigate the issue -- once I became aware of it."
Bradley accused the sheriff's department of selectively omitting information he provided and, according to the Times, complained his findings were not presented to the jury and said prosecutors did not correct the court record.
The Times reported Bradley as saying, "They needed to get that right."
Cheney Mason, one of Anthony's defense lawyers, told the Times it was "outrageous" that prosecutors withheld the information on the searches.
"The prosecution is absolutely obligated to bring forth to the court any and all evidence that could be exculpatory," Mr. Mason said. "If in fact this is true, and the prosecution concealed this new information, it is more than shame on them. It is outrageous."
The case against Anthony was mostly circumstantial, but as it unfolded, she was portrayed in the trial as a promiscuous, self-centered woman who became a cold-blooded killer. The motive, prosecutors alleged, was to allow her to live a carefree life without her daughter.
The state's theory was that a desperate Anthony used chloroform to subdue her daughter and then suffocated her with duct tape. Anthony then fabricated fantastic lies to cover up her deeds, the prosecutors said.
According to Anthony's lead attorney, Jose Baez, Casey Anthony and her father, George Anthony, were at home on June 16, 2008, when they noticed Caylee was missing. They began a frantic search, looking under beds and in the garage. Then George Anthony took the search outside to the above-ground pool, where they found a lifeless Caylee floating in the water, Baez said.
Caylee's remains were found in a wooded area near the Anthony family home in December 2008. The discovery was made roughly five months after she was reported missing.
The office of Lawson Lamar, state attorney of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida, has since issued a response to the Times article.
"On June 27, the discrepancy was discussed with Baez. ... Mr. Baez brought the discrepancy forward in court testimony and again at closing with his court exhibit," said Danielle Tavernier, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office in Orlando.
"During jury deliberations Mr. Bradley admitted to sending additional report information to the wrong email address but was able to deliver information to prosecutors on the evening of July 4," Tavernier continued. "On July 5, the prosecutors prepared a Notice of Supplemental Discovery for defense but it was never provided because the jury had reached their verdict. Mr. Bradley never told prosecutors that the searches or the dates and times of the searches were inaccurate."
In regard to Mason's statements, Tavernier insisted all the information was disclosed to the defense in a timely manner.
"We are dismayed at the suggestion made by the defense that prosecutors would withhold exculpatory material," he said. "Court records show that the defense was completely aware of the issues, utilizing these facts at trial."
Capt. Angelo Nieves, media relations commander for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said his agency has already acknowledged that there were "discrepancies in the results produced by CacheBack [and] developed by Mr. John Bradley."
"We stand by the integrity of the investigation and our partnership with the State Attorney's Office," Nieves said.
Since Anthony was ultimately acquitted of killing her daughter, the computer search results are now of little consequence. However, had she been found guilty based upon the results, she would have faced a possible death sentence.
In a summary at the bottom of Bradley's presser, he wrote: "The Casey Anthony trial was a good experience for no other reason than to experience the American justice system and to be humbled in acknowledging that 'one more test' is never a waste of time."
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