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Casey Anthony's lawyer says she has returned to Florida

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By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - Casey Anthony, the young Orlando mother acquitted of killing her toddler, is back in Florida and ready to report by Friday for probation on check fraud charges if her appeal fails, according to her lawyer.

"We have her in a location that's very safe. She has people that care about her around her," lawyer Jose Baez told Geraldo Rivera late on Sunday on Fox News.

Baez did not return a call from Reuters for comment on Monday.

The 25-year-old Anthony, voted the most hated American in a celebrity poll after a jury found her not guilty in July of the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, dropped from public view following her release from jail. Her lawyers confirmed she had moved out of state.

But earlier this month, a judge ordered Anthony to return to Florida to report for a year of probation for a different crime -- check fraud charges she admitted to in 2010.

Confusion has swirled around that case, now on an emergency appeal in Daytona Beach.

The original judge told Anthony she must serve her probation after her release from jail. But his intent was not written into the final sentencing order, leading corrections officials to allow Anthony to complete her probation while she sat in jail awaiting trial for the murder charge.

Defense lawyers are arguing that the court has no jurisdiction to order Anthony to serve probation now and that such an order violates her rights against double jeopardy.

In his televised interview on Sunday, Baez said Anthony has spoken to her parents, Cindy and George Anthony, but not to her brother Lee.

Part of Anthony's murder defense was a claim she was sexually molested by her father and brother, although the judge ruled that no such evidence was ever presented at trial.

"She's had limited contact with her parents," said Baez, saying he didn't know of any plans for her to return to her family home or reconcile with her family.

He said Anthony had been staying "with close friends of ours that ... are somewhat of spiritual advisers, people who care and are trying to help her get on with her life." Baez confirmed some of those friends are therapists.

Asked whether Anthony had any friends, Baez indicated her only friends were those connected to her defense team.

"There have been people associated to the defense that have grown to care about her significantly. So we all consider ourselves friends of hers," he said.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)