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Former Casey Anthony lawyer defends child in cyberbullying case

October 25, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • One of the girls charged in the Florida cyberbullying case sits with her mother in the courtroom Friday.
One of the girls charged in the Florida cyberbullying case sits with her… (NDN )

The celebrated attorney who represented Casey Anthony has taken on the case of a 12-year-old Florida girl accused of stalking another child who then killed herself -- a case that has raised national questions about how to deal with cyberbullying.

Jose Baez, who took on Anthony's case and won, said on Friday that his current 12-year-old client did nothing criminal. Speaking to reporters after a brief court hearing, the lawyer said that his client had been a friend of Rebecca Sedwick, who jumped to her death last month from an abandoned cement silo in Lakeland.

“She feels absolutely horrible for what happened to Rebecca,” Baez said, according to the Lakeland Ledger.

Two girls, including Baez’s client,  have been charged with aggravated stalking in the case. The pair, who attended Crystal Lake Middle School along with Sedwick, were accused by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office of using social media to bully Sedwick.

Baez’s client was supposed to be arraigned Friday morning, but prosecutors asked for more time to review the investigative reports. The arraignment was continued until Tuesday, the same day the other defendant is scheduled to appear in court.

Although the girl is being identified by some media, Los Angeles Times policy is not to identify juveniles accused of crimes unless they are being tried as adults.

Anthony is the Florida mother who was acquitted in 2011 of killing her young daughter in a case that excited cable television viewers.

Meanwhile, the Sedwick family has also reached out into the legal community and has retained former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. The family is considering suing the Polk County schools or the parents of the defendants.

The family has also established a website to help raise $5,400 to pay for Rebecca's funeral costs. Additional funds donated will be used for anti-bullying initiatives, lawyers said at a Thursday news conference.

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