GRANDPARENTS OF CAYLEE ANTHONY TOLD CO-ANCHOR MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ THAT THEIR DAUGHTER WON’T ACCEPT A PLEA DEAL TO SPARE HER LIFE – IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON “THE EARLY SHOW” ON CBS
GEORGE ANTHONY ALSO TALKS ABOUT WHY HE CONSIDERED SUICIDE
PART TWO OF RODRIGUEZ’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WILL BE BROADCAST TOMORROW ON “THE EARLY SHOW”
Co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez conducted an exclusive sit-down interview with George and Cindy Anthony this morning on THE EARLY SHOW (7:00-9:00AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. This was the Anthony’s first interview together since the body of their granddaughter, Caylee Marie, was found in Dec. 2008. During the interview, the Anthonys told Rodriguez that their daughter won’t accept a plea deal to spare her life. George Anthony also talked about why he once considered suicide. Part two of Rodriguez’s exclusive interview will be broadcast tomorrow (23) on THE EARLY SHOW.
Click here to watch Rodriguez’s exclusive interview.
Credit: Maggie Rodriguez/THE EARLY SHOW:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ, CO-ANCHOR: Joining me now for an exclusive interview are Caylee's grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony, as well as their attorney, Brad Conway. Good morning to all of you.
GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY'S FATHER: Good morning.
CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY'S MOTHER: Good morning.
BRAD CONWAY, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE AND CINDY ANTHONY: Good morning, Maggie.
RODRIGUEZ: I can see on your faces this is so difficult, so thank you very much for being here. Most people don't think of it this way, but you have suffered two losses. Your beautiful granddaughter, Caylee, was murdered, and your daughter, Casey, was taken from you as well because she went to jail and charged -- and was charged with this crime. You've had two tragedies in your family.
C. ANTHONY: Yes, we have.
RODRIGUEZ: So, this is doubly hard for you?
G. ANTHONY: Yes, doubly hard. It is hard.
RODRIGUEZ: Do you think that people don't realize that, antagonize you and not realize how much you are suffering?
C. ANTHONY: Yes, I think sometimes it gets lost that, you know, we've lost someone very close to us and we have someone else that's hurting. And we miss her dearly, too.
RODRIGUEZ: And she must be especially hurting now because the latest development in this case, a little over a week ago, prosecutors decided to seek the death penalty against Casey. There's a big difference between thinking that your daughter may spend her life in prison and realizing that she may even be put to death. What was that realization like for you?
C. ANTHONY: You know, we can't think about what's to come. She hasn't even had her trial yet, you know. Casey's presumed innocent, and, you know, we can't think about that right now.
RODRIGUEZ: Will this, you think, George, change anything in Casey's defense? Will she consider now accepting a plea deal to spare her life?
G. ANTHONY: Well, you know, again, this trial is only about probably a year away. I don't really believe that her defensive team is going to do anything to jeopardize anything in the future for her. So, the answer to that question, it's -- we're just going to have to wait and see what plays out. I don't believe that's going to happen with her.
RODRIGUEZ: Would you encourage her to do that?
C. ANTHONY: No.
G. ANTHONY: No.
C. ANTHONY: Absolutely not. I don't think Casey would take a plea deal. You know, Casey's not going to admit for something that she hasn't done.
RODRIGUEZ: How are you so sure? Why do you say with such conviction that she didn't do this?
C. ANTHONY: We love our daughter. We stand behind her. We know what kind of mother she was.
RODRIGUEZ: Is it because you love her (ph) daughter that you need to believe this or because you believe unflinchingly that it's not possible that she did this?
G. ANTHONY: I don't think it's possible for my daughter to hurt anyone. And she wouldn't definitely hurt her own child. I mean, my gosh, I've seen the love every single day that she had for her. You know, she took care of her being with us. So, I mean, she wouldn't hurt her.
RODRIGUEZ: But Cindy, your first instinct when you called 911 was to say, quote, "It smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car." When you take that, plus all the evidence that prosecutors say they've gathered, it doesn't bode well for Casey.
CONWAY: You know, Maggie, those are issues that are going to come up at trial. And they're anxiously awaiting that. And there's been so much pretrial publicity that's going to affect the ultimate outcome and her ability to get a fair trial. So, the questions that have to do with the statements that they gave, they want to wait, and they want to tell the truth in front of a jury and let a jury decide.
RODRIGUEZ: OK. But people will want to know why we should believe that Casey didn't do this when there is so much evidence. What do you say to those people?
C. ANTHONY: You know, again, she's presumed innocent. You know, I think the truth will come out at trial, and that's what we have to wait for. You know, the defense is going to do their job. We're confident that they're going to do their job. And, you know, they'll be able to see for themselves that it's -- you know, there's more to it.
RODRIGUEZ: Yes. There is what has to be an excruciating question for any parent, but I'm sure you've asked yourselves the question in the course of this. If she did commit this crime, should she be punished because whoever killed Caylee deserves to be, or would you like to see leniency because she's your daughter?
C. ANTHONY: Again, you know, we want the truth, you know. But, again, we have to wait for everything to come out in trial.
RODRIGUEZ: Prosecutors will try to use some of Casey's own words and actions in the trial. They'll say even though she believed that her daughter had been taken by a baby-sitter, she didn't call you guys in a panic and say, Mom, Dad, look what happened. She didn't report Caylee missing. Cindy, do you find her behavior odd?
C. ANTHONY: You know, I don't understand what happened. I don't know what happened. And again, you know, I think we'll probably learn a lot more, you know, as time goes on.
RODRIGUEZ: But have you had a chance to ask Casey why she didn't report Caylee missing?
C. ANTHONY: Yes. She was afraid. I mean, that's the answer -- she was afraid.
RODRIGUEZ: What was she afraid of?
C. ANTHONY: She, you know, I can't answer that right now.
RODRIGUEZ: But she told you she feared for, what, her life?
Caylee's life? Both?
C. ANTHONY: She feared for all of our lives.
RODRIGUEZ: Yes. What about you, George. In those 30 days they were missing, did you ever -- I know that at one point, you confronted Casey. What did you say to her?
G. ANTHONY: The only time I really confronted Casey was when I saw her again on July 15th. I mean, I just wanted to know where she's been, and what she told me is what she told Cindy, you know, also.
RODRIGUEZ: That she was afraid.
G. ANTHONY: She's afraid.
RODRIGUEZ: And at that point, she said she believed that Caylee was still alive?
G. ANTHONY: Yes.
RODRIGUEZ: And you, Cindy, you had never gone more than two days without seeing Caylee, and yet you didn't report her missing until 30 days later. Why is that?
C. ANTHONY: Because she was with her mom. And I believed that, you know, she was with her mom. And I have never had a reason not to trust Casey with Caylee.
You know, Casey made Caylee her priority, and it was very evident, anybody that saw Casey and Caylee together, that Caylee was number one for Casey. So, I never had a reason. I mean, Casey was Caylee's -- I mean, Casey was Caylee's mom. Caylee belonged to her.
I'm just the grandmother. You know, there's a lot of grandmothers that don't know every, you know, everything about their grandchildren.
Just because she lived with me doesn't mean that, you know, Casey wasn't in charge of Caylee.
RODRIGUEZ: Even though there had been -- and this is well-documented -- times when she had lied to you, you never once thought, something is not quite right with the story she's telling us?
C. ANTHONY: No, there was never a red flag until July 15th.
RODRIGUEZ: This is going to be a very difficult question, but when they finally found Caylee dead, a quarter mile from your house, can you tell me what went through your mind, George?
G. ANTHONY: Sorrow. Didn't want to believe it. Still have a hard time coping with that -- I really do -- now that my granddaughter is no longer here. It's hard. And to know...
RODRIGUEZ: Yes. Do you think about her every single day?
C. ANTHONY: Every single day.
G. ANTHONY: Every single day. Every single day. I mean, we can't walk around our home without thinking of her. Waking up in the morning and walking out and seeing the photo of her, hearing her little voice.
C. ANTHONY: Driving in the car listening to a song, you know.
There are so many things. You know, just walking outside, looking at the stars at night. I mean, everything.
And, you know, this was our year to do more with her because she was getting older. I mean, you know how it is when they're toddlers, and she was the age, the perfect age to, you know, take her, you know, places and that. And it's very difficult.
RODRIGUEZ: A little more than a month after she was found dead, George, you had a very difficult moment. You almost took your own life. You ready to talk about that now?
G. ANTHONY: I can talk some about it. I mean, to try to keep your family together no matter what, to have so much put on you every single day, to be scrutinized, to be -- have people come at you in so many different directions like protesters at our house and stuff. All that weighs on you after a while.
I mean, to think how they tried to destroy my wife. Tried to destroy my son. Came after my daughter. Said negative things in such a way that I'm going to protect my family no matter what. And got to the point on that one day that there's just so much a person can take.
I mean, sure, that was the wrong direction to go in, and I know that. And I want to talk to more people about that kind of stuff. You can't give up, even though the days get very hard for you, there's still other ways. There's people to talk to besides your own family, but people you can reach out to and talk. They're going to be there for support to help you.
RODRIGUEZ: All right. George, Cindy, thank you very much. Brad, thank you for coming as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome, Maggie.
RODRIGUEZ: We will continue our conversation with the Anthonys tomorrow here on "The Early Show." We'll talk more about Caylee, Casey, the case and what the Anthonys are doing now to help other people in a similar situation.
Zev Shalev is the executive producer of THE EARLY SHOW.