The Orlando attorney who made headlines last year for defending “tot mom” Casey Anthony is planting roots back home again. Miami native Jose Baez is opening a branch of the Baez Law Firm in Coral Gables next month, dabbling in criminal defense, personal injury and immigration. He’ll be at Books & Books in Coral Gables at 8 p.m. Monday to talk about his new book, Presumed Guilty: Casey Anthony: The Inside Story (BenBella, $26.99).
Why open an office in South Florida?
I’m a hometown boy. I like to say I’m Puerto Rican by way of Little Havana.
What do you want people to know about you?
Never miss a local story.
I don’t want people to think I only take big cases. I always say, ‘No case is too big, and no case is too small.’ It’s no longer about a national story or getting recognition: it’s about working hard and seeking justice for our clients.
Why write a book?
After the verdict a lot of people started to criticize the jury. They didn’t know all the facts. This book has all the facts in one place to help understand why the jury voted the way they did.
Didn’t the prosecutor Jeff Ashton also write a book?
He has never spoken to Anthony in his life and has never been inside her home. The only lawyer on this case from the first day to the last was me. I don’t consider his account an inside story. This is the inside story.
You’re not going to tell, but I’m going to ask anyway: Where’s Casey?
She’s in Florida at an undisclosed location. She’s a prisoner in her own freedom.
You mentioned that during the case, your house went into foreclosure and sometimes you could not pay your staff. Will this book turn that around?
This book came out July 3 and has already been on the bestseller list for two weeks. If it becomes No. 1 and stays there, it may bump my pay on this case up to $4 an hour. You make huge sacrifices in a case like this. My son is 2½ now and was born during the case. My wife had to sneak in through the back of the hospital, under an alias. Nobody could come visit. What should have been a wondrous occasion was done in secrecy.
Why did people get so obsessed with this case?
Because Casey was young pretty and white.
George Zimmerman’s jailhouse calls suggest FOX News talk show host Sean Hannity was willing to pay Zimmerman’s legal tab if he took you on as his lawyer.
It’s not true. Dealing with the media is a complex game. It’s a blood sport.