HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell believes the millions of viewers who watched the network’s intensive coverage of the Casey Anthony murder trial “paid more attention than some of the jurors” to the voluminous evidence in the case. “A lot of our viewers knew the details of the case to an extraordinary degree. And you don’t get the sense the jurors really did,” she said in an interview Wednesday morning with Mediaite, noting that the jury returned not guilty verdicts on all felony counts so quickly prosecutors were convinced they’d gotten a conviction. Given the extensive evidence, Velez-Mitchell says it’s surprising any jury could sift through all the evidence in just over a day. “I don’t know how you could do that in under eleven hours.”
Velez-Mitchell, who remains in Orlando, where she’s hosted her nightly show Issues in addition to live “verdict watch” coverage throughout the 4th of July weekend, admits the stunning verdict isn’t easy to process. “You have to be philosophical today. We don’t know what the ultimate fallout will be. We’re not in control.” The HLN host, who’s written about her own struggles with addiction, says the lessons of recovery have helped her accept the Anthony verdict. “That’s the ultimate message of the Twelve Steps, accept life on life’s terms.”
Velez-Mitchell dismisses suggestions by some that Anthony may be poised to cash in with a book deal, reflecting on O.J. Simpson‘s failed effort to strike it rich with his book, If I Did It, which caused intense controversy for the book’s publisher. “Any corporation to give (Anthony) money could get hit with such fierce criticism. I don’t think it’s as easy as she’s just going to be handed checks” she said, adding that another parallel to the Simpson case may be Anthony’s fate as a free woman. “Where’s O.J. right now? He’s behind bars. Same may happen to Casey Anthony. She is going to take herself with her and she may run into problems down the road.”
Velez-Mitchell says despite criticism in some circles, she’s proud of HLN’s coverage of the Anthony case, and looks forward to using the story as a launching point to discuss issues about how we raise and protect children. “What I’d like to talk about are the cultural issues. My heart grieves for little Caylee…we’re going to go and talk about other cases, and hopefully we can find another Caylee before something terrible happens.” In fact, just such a story may be in the works. Velez-Mitchell told Mediaite a man approached her Wednesday morning in Orlando, asking for help protecting his three young daughters. The man believes his wife is suffering from mental illness and the girls could be in danger. “He was worried (they) could be the next Caylee,” said Velez-Mitchell, who immediately made a series of phone calls, to local police and state child protection officers, checking out the story.
“I think that there is the law of unintended consequences. We don’t know what good might come out of this.”
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