The jury, in an obvious rush to get home and make up for the wasted 4th of July weekend spent listening to closing arguments, declared accused killer, Casey Anthony, not guilty of all charges except fibbing on Tuesday.
In a hushed courtroom, the foreman of the jury announced the verdict. When Judge Belvin Perry polled the jury by asking, "So say you all?", he was answered with a chorus of: "Yeah, whatever. Can we go now?"
When it was apparent that the defendant was, in fact, exonerated of the charges of capital murder, manslaughter and jaywalking in the act of disposing of a corpse, confetti rained down upon the elated--and somewhat mystified--defense team. Ms. Anthony and the defense team rushed to the jury box and gave high-fives to the jurors and nearby spectators. A reporter in the courtroom shouted to Ms. Anthony, "You've just been declared 'not guilty' by a jury of your peers. What are you going to do now?"
"I'm going to DisneyWorld!" she gushed.
As the defendant was led back to the lock up to await sentencing on Thursday, the jubilant defense team repaired to posh restaurant Terrace 390 across the street and began their victory celebration. The giddy lawyers donned specially-made baseball caps and jerseys emblazoned with the logo: "World Courtroom Champions, Orlando, 2011. A monsoon of expensive Champagne soaked the normally-staid barristers as they reveled in their come-from-behind victory.
"I'll tell you what," shouted lead defense lawyer, Jose Baez, "It just goes to show you that you can never give up. There's no quit in this team. I told these guys when we first started putting this case together that we were gonna pull this off. All the trash talking throughout the trial by the prosecution--not to take anything away from them, they did a helluva job, but I think this verdict shows who the better counsel was in the courtroom today."
His summation was cut short when another man came up from behind Baez and sprayed the remnants of a bottle of Dom Perignon on his head. Baez turned and put the interloper in a good-natured head lock. "And--ha--this guy right here, this guy was a big part of this team", referring to co-counsel, Cheney Mason. "We couldn't have done without him and I'm just so proud to have had Cheney here this year."
Mason hugged Baez and laughed, "I hope you feel the same way in a couple months, Jose"--an obvious reference to Mason's upcoming free-agency negotiations.
As a crowd gathered outside the restaurant to watch the celebration on a hastily-erected big screen TV, Orlando police had to be called in to keep the unruly celebrants from getting out of hand. Said one officer in full riot gear, "Orlando gets a lot of Canadian visitors this time of year. We saw what happened in Vancouver when the Canucks lost; we shudder to think what kind of hell they would raise if they ever won anything....."
TV news anchor and professional keeper of justice, Nancy Grace, appeared outside the raucous nightclub and, brimming with righteous indignation, barged past the contingent of police and security guards and into the restaurant, claiming she was, in fact, Geraldo Rivera. Once inside, she angrily confronted the lead attorneys and accused them of a grave miscarriage of justice, railing against their misleading the jury, their misrepresentation of the facts, the lies, the deceit of anyone who disagrees with her.
The lawyers looked at her in stunned silence as she concluded her impassioned castigation of the judicial system as she sees it. Then they hosed her down in a flood of Champagne.
As the Champagne struck her steaming head, it exploded in a shower of tiny gray cells.
Meanwhile, across town in a run-down Denny's, the scene at the post-trial prosecution get-together was vastly different.......