TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - Casey Anthony, the Florida mother acquitted in the 2008 killing of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, on Monday made her first public appearance since being released from jail 18 months ago, telling a bankruptcy hearing she is unemployed and lives off “unsolicited donations.”
Flanked by a half dozen attorneys, Anthony, 26, wore a white blouse and a black miniskirt as she detailed her financial troubles in a federal court in Tampa, Florida. Anthony testified that she has not accepted any book, TV or movie deals and said she does not own a house or a car.
“I don’t pay rent, I don’t pay utilities. I guess you could say I‘m living free or off the kindness” of others, she said.
Anthony filed for bankruptcy in January, claiming she has just over a $1,000 in assets and nearly $800,000 in debt, according to a bankruptcy filing.
“When I need to go somewhere, I take the bus,” she said, adding her friends also buy her food. “I try to contribute when I can.”
According to her bankruptcy petition, Anthony owes one of her lawyers nearly $500,000, along with $220,000 in court-ordered trial costs, investigative expenses and criminal fines plus $69,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.
To pay some of her legal expenses, Anthony said she gave several photos of herself to her defense attorney who sold them to the ABC television network in 2008 for $200,000.
She said she was also asked to pose for another set of photos but did not know how much they sold for or when.
Scott Shuker, an attorney for one of Anthony’s creditors, questioned her description of her financial situation.
“From my smell test, it doesn’t smell right,” he said outside the courthouse. “She certainly has a lot of kindness from strangers.”
Anthony told detectives in July 2008 that Caylee was kidnapped by a nanny, triggering a nationwide search for the girl that was followed intensely by cable television news and entertainment shows.
During her trial, her defense lawyers claimed Caylee drowned in the family’s backyard pool.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Caylee might have been smothered by duct tape wrapped around her heard before her body was left in the woods.
Although Anthony was acquitted of all major charges at her closely watched trial, Anthony was convicted on four counts of lying to detectives investigating the toddler’s disappearance.
Two of the convictions were overturned in January.
Anthony did not respond to reporters’ questions as she walked briskly from the courthouse to her attorney’s waiting Mercedes, which sped off.
Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by David Gregorio