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Casey Anthony Trial: Prosecution rests, no evidence of Casey sex abuse

11:16 AM, Jul 3, 2011   |    comments
Casey Anthony tells Judge Belvin Perry she won't testify in her own defense and her defense attorney Jose Baez said it has rested its case.
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(CNN) -- Minutes before closing arguments were set to begin in Casey Anthony's capital murder trial, the judge prohibited her defense attorneys from bringing up a key point, ruling there is no evidence she was sexually abused by her father or brother.

Crime Scene Photos: Pictures from where Caylee Anthony's body was found (Caution: Some pictures may be considered graphic)

More Pictures: Click here to see the photos Casey Anthony doesn't want you to see (Caution: pics contain some adult material: IE: Drinking, partial nudity)

The defense had sought to explain Casey Anthony's behavior during the 31 days before her 2-year-old daughter Caylee's disappearance was reported to police by suggesting she had been schooled from an early age to hide her feelings as a result of sexual abuse that began when she was 8 by her father, George Anthony.

Defense attorney Jose Baez said in his opening statements that Casey Anthony's brother, Lee Anthony, also abused her, but "it didn't go as far" as that with her father.

But Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. said Sunday, there are "no facts in evidence or reasonable inferences that can be drawn ... that either Mr. George Anthony or Mr. Lee Anthony molested or attempted to molest Ms. Anthony."

Baez asked if he could still discuss "family dysfunction," and Perry said he could.

Both the prosecution and the defense get a final chance to present their disparate cases to the jury. The final decision will then be in the hands of the jury of seven women and five men.

They will decide if Anthony, now 25, is guilty of killing Caylee. She is charged with seven counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading police. If convicted of first-degree murder, she could receive the death penalty.

FULL COVERAGE: The Casey Anthony murder trial

According to court spokeswoman Karen Connolly Levey, the jury members will deliberate through the July 4 holiday, assuming a quick verdict is not reached.

The jurors are all from Pinellas County, after Perry moved the jury selection process there due to extensive media coverage around Orlando.

Anthony has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and denies harming her daughter.

The Anthony trial has lived up to the intense pre-trial hype and drama, beginning six weeks ago with her lawyer's opening statements alleging that Anthony's father -- George Anthony, who was Caylee's grandfather -- helped to cover up that the girl accidentally died in the family pool.

Prosecutors have denied that claim, as has George Anthony himself on the stand.

Rather, they say that the Orlando woman rendered Caylee unconscious with chloroform, duct-taped her mouth and nose, and stored the child's body in her car trunk for a few days before dumping it in the woods.

A utility worker found the girl's skeletal remains in December 2008, six months after the last sighting, in a wooded area near her grandparents' home.

Though Casey Anthony didn't take the stand during the trial, her lawyers worked to question the depth and validity of the prosecution's case and raise doubts about her father.

They claim George Anthony panicked upon finding Caylee dead and told Casey Anthony her mother would never forgive her.

The defense frequently called Anthony's parents to the stand, making them a focal point. In George Anthony's case, they appeared largely intent on poking holes in the former police detective's stories.

On Friday, after all the evidence had been presented, the defense again requested that the case against Anthony be dismissed -- claiming that the prosecution had failed to adequately show how Caylee died and at whose hands. And once again, Perry denied their request.

Prosecution witnesses, including Anthony's father, have pointed to the smells emanating from the trunk of Anthony's Pontiac Sunbird that they claim came from a decaying human body -- Caylee's body, they allege.

The prosecution also sought to paint Anthony as someone who habitually lied, whether it was about her working at Universal Studios, or about her daughter staying with an imaginary nanny named Zenaida "Zanny" Gonzalez.

Her friends, her former boyfriend and acquaintances testified that in June and July 2008, Anthony was staying with her boyfriend, spending time in Orlando with friends, attending parties, going shopping and hitting nightclubs. They said she did not mention her daughter being missing during that time.

"This is a tragedy that snowballed out of control," Baez said in his opening statement. "This is not a murder case. This is not a manslaughter case ... this is a tragic accident that happened to some very disturbed people."

CNN

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