Casey Anthony spoke to Piers Morgan by phone on June 12, 2012. Here is the full transcript along with CNN videos regarding the phone call and interview, as well as interview with Casey's attorney J.Cheney Mason.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Two big stories tonight. An extraordinary day in the Sandusky trial. We'll get to that in a few moments. But we begin with my exclusive conversation with Casey Anthony. I spoke to her and her attorney just a little while ago. She's been hiding at a secret location ever since she's found not guilty in the death of her daughter Caylee.
What she told me was about her life now and she's gone what she says through hell, and she says she weren't wrong by not being honest with law officials.
J. Cheney Mason is a member of Casey Anthony's defense team. He joins me now exclusively.
Welcome to you. It was an extraordinary moment. We were in my office. And you put your client on the phone. You put it on loud speaker. It was your phone. And we had a sort of 10-minute conversation. A random conversation in many ways. But it gave me an insight into I guess her state of mind. How she's feeling about her life now.
Before we get to that, how would you categorize where she is now?
J. CHENEY MASON, CASEY ANTHONY ATTORNEY: Well, she's in a different prison in reality. She's not in 24-hour a day or 23 out of 24-hour a day lockdown like she was for three years in Norris County jail. But she's in a home where she can't go outside. She fears and we fear for her to go outside at all. She can't be seen. So she spends the day in the house and she cook, cleans, and reads books and exercises and watches some programs on TV. And movies particularly. That's what she does.
MORGAN: Some of the things that she said were fascinating. I asked her about her public perception, which by common consent is not good. She says it's bad, it's absolutely horrible. She seemed very aware of the fact that she has a reputation as one of the most hated people in America. How does she deal with that, do you think?
MASON: Well, she's -- she accepts her reality. She knows that right now she can't do anything about that because we can't have her be in public to answer things. She knows that the hate mongers are out there in legions. Those people who don't believe in the jury system. And just reject the verdict out of hand, or believe evidence that was never there.
There's nothing she can do about that at this time. So she has to accept people hate her. And that's because they don't know her. And I can tell you there's an awful lot of people that like her and respect her for what she did. Having the courage to go to trial. And she gets a lot of favorable mail, too.
MORGAN: I said to her, what are the biggest misconceptions, do you think, about you? And she said, well, I -- I mean there's obviously several misconceptions. Obviously I didn't kill my daughter. She said that very firmly. If anything, there's nothing in this world I've ever been more proud of and there's no one I loved more than my daughter. She's my greatest accomplishment.
Clearly, a lot of people in America believe she killed her daughter. But I was struck by -- that was what she wanted to get over straight away loud and clear. I didn't kill my girl.
MASON: And she said that to you without any prompting, without any rehearsal. Without any lawyering whatsoever. She just -- just told you that. And that's an interesting -- the way you said that. I just want to read part of one of the favorable letters that I brought. The parts that she's gotten. One of the -- one of these people, of course, anonymously had a very perceptive statement in here. "At no time did any of the horrible news media ever choose to portray Casey as a good mother. And I never saw one photo, one video, that did not show a very loving and caring mother. A small child is so open that there would have been clues in her expression or interaction with her mom if she had been mistreated in anyway."
This is from one of the unsolicited letters. We had thousands of them.
MORGAN: I mean, she was very strong I felt to me about her media perception. She was very cynical, actually, about what she called, in her view, the no different type of scrutiny from magazines like "The National Enquirer" to what she said was supposed to be credible media organizations like the "New York Times," the "Boston Herald" she cited. All just running with rumors about her which she said was simply not true.
And she then began to go through some of them, which I thought was interesting. I have never been a, quote-unquote, "party girl," she said. I don't drink now. I probably had a handful of beer since I've been on probation. I've never done drugs apart from a little bit of marijuana in my early 20s.
She said this with quite an emphatic tone to her voice. As if to say I'm a bit fed up with this stuff being peddled around. Like I was a wild, out-of-control young woman.
MASON: When the case began, one of big thrusts of the prosecution in building -- well, attempting to build prejudice in my opinion was to paint her as some sort of non-motherly type person. This is a young generation. She's 22 years old. Kids these days go out to start their evenings when I've long been asleep.
And that doesn't mean they're out doing anything different than any other 20 or 22 or 23-year-old kid in the country. That's what the modern youth does. We didn't used to do that. But the opportunities weren't there so --
MORGAN: I mean, there's persistent rumor that she's trying to sell her story. Is that true?
MASON: No. Simply is not. Nothing's being sold. Nothing being marketed. From her. I'm the one that's responsible for doing those things for her or with her. We're sitting back watching. We're watching what other people have done, are doing, what's coming out. And when the time comes, she will have her story to tell.
MORGAN: She, on this very subject, said I'm not making gazillions of dollars at the hands of other people, or trying to sell myself to anyone willing to throw a couple of dollars at me. I don't give a -- expletive -- about money. I may have in the past. Other reasons before any of this stuff started because I was a stupid kid. But I'm 26 now. I've gone through hell. And even I know the situation isn't what it should have been when my life totally changed almost a year ago but I'm dealing with it. MASON: Well --
MORGAN: In a way, I thought that she is a different person now in her eyes to the one she was before.
MASON: Well, and keep in mind, she spent three years being vilified 24 hours a day by all of the news media in the country or a lot in the world, you tell me. Being accused and insulted and degraded by some of the other talk show-type people that don't deserve to be mentioned. And that's all there was.
And keep in mind, at the same time, Casey was in lockdown, 23 out of 24 hours a day. Seven days a week for three years. The only time that she got out is when we visited with her or other team members or experts met with her. And then trial. She had to endure all that. That whole process for all that time.
MORGAN: There will be people watching this. You have a fixed view about your client. Who will say, "I'm not buying any of this stuff." I don't know what -- you know, soft soaping it. She probably killed her child, they'll think. But even if she didn't, she was found guilty of lying. Again, it was interesting talking to her. She didn't try and hide from this.
On the subject of the lying, she said -- well, I said to her, where are you self-critical. I said to her. She said, by not being honest. "I didn't trust law enforcement. Because of my relationship with my father who was ex-law enforcement himself. I didn't give them the benefit of the doubt, which is part of the reason they didn't give me the benefit of the doubt. People can think they are critical of me and the 31 days of my lying to law enforcement and my not being forthcoming. But they don't understand the reason why."
And then she went on to say something very interesting. "I've looked back at some of the interviews that she did. In the way that I've come across. It's horrible. It looks absolutely horrible." And, "I'm ashamed in many ways of the person that I was. Because even then that wasn't who I am."
MASON: Strong person. Casey had a bad background. A lot of problems in her history that don't need to be talked about now. Indeed, she didn't trust anybody. And of course when she -- questioned as intensely as she was without benefit of her constitutional rights, warnings, lawyers, or whatever. Just let her in the Casey world. Casey world was made things up. Casey world denied things. She just closed in. She had a very difficult time dealing it.
She is now trying to emerge from that. She learned at the same time a lot of the world did how she grieved differently after her child disappeared. We had an expert explain that.
And interestingly in the courtroom, Piers, when that was done, it was the first time that she really seemed to have an understanding what had transpired and why she was there.
MORGAN: Yes, and I thought it was interesting when she said to me, I wouldn't even have been able to begin to tell you the person I was outside of being a mom. I was 22, I was scared and confused with life in general, not having a direction. You get a picture of a young woman -- like she said, lacking direction. With family issues.
But let me ask you difficult question. You represent her legally. You spent so much time with her that in many ways you've become a surrogate family to her. She has no relationship with her parents now. People will be watching this thinking, fine, if she didn't kill her girl, who did? Have you formed any kind of opinion about that?
MASON: Well, I don't think anybody killed her. That term implied an intentional act. The child obviously died. We presented that evidence in trial, theory of the defense. And we believe it. We're staying by it. There's no reason to change that. There's going to be people who deny it and will not accept it. There are still people out there that totally and mistakenly believe that somehow chloroform had something to do with this case. We proved in trial that it did not.
That was a fabrication from the prosecution. There's no such evidence of chloroform having anything to do with this child's death, period. But there are -- there are those who will never admit that.
MORGAN: Just hold that thought for an moment, Cheney. I want to come back after the break and talk more about my extraordinary conversation with Casey and get your reaction to it.
MORGAN: I'm back with my special guest Cheney Mason who's Casey Anthony's attorney.
And let's talk about her as a -- as a young woman. She said to me, "The caricature of me that is out there couldn't be further from the truth. Where people get these ideas from, it's so far beyond my own comprehension at this point. I don't even know where it comes from."
You've spent a lot of time with her. What kind of woman is she?
MASON: Well, she's a young woman, just slightly older than some of my grandchildren. She's very, very personable. She's very likable. She's very polite. She's respectful. She's all the good things that you'd expect from a young person. And to imagine that she -- meet and talk with her now as a person who's been vilified by some of the -- the other network people and some of the press and just the lynch mob mentality.
It's hard to imagine this person be this person. You heard her voice. You didn't see her face but you talked to her spontaneously today. MORGAN: I was -- I'll be honest. I was surprised by her apparent maturity. The self-awareness. I mean putting aside the debate over whether the conviction was, you know, sound or otherwise that she was convicted of lying but not of killing her, her child, but whether you believe the outcome or not, I've always believed you got to respect the justice system.
And the justice system decided there wasn't enough evidence that she killed her daughter. And if you do assume that she didn't kill her daughter, then the hellish time that she's had becomes even more hellish.
MASON: It is a remarkable, you, not being an American citizen, have a greater appreciation for the American Constitution and our system of laws than so many other people who choose to just ignorantly ignore the system that our country's built on. And you're right. She has suffered unjustifiably and continues to. And after this show is put out, I suspect there'll be another round of hate mongers (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Well, I mean, I knew the moment I spoke to her and we'll be talking about this on air I can predict exactly what will happen. You know, Twitter and Facebook. You know, they'll all explode. There will be people with incredibly strong opinions who will be outraged we even aired this. Outraged we're debating it, who just think she's guilty, guilty, guilty. But I come back to the fact that she was found not guilty of the charge of killing her daughter. So whatever people think, I think there has to be a respect for the justice system.
MASON: There has to be a respect for the system and in particular respect and admiration for the jury. Those 12 folks who came from out of town and listened to the evidence directly. Not talking head comments and not news spinnings --
MORGAN: Do you think the whole -- I mean I don't like cameras in trials. I wonder if it would have been very different, the perception of her, if we hadn't had the cameras in the courtroom. What do you think?
MASON: Well, I don't know. I'm an older lawyer. And I was one who vigorously opposed the whole project of having cameras in a courtroom. I have tried a dozen or more trials of cameras in the courtroom. And what I do know is everybody in a courtroom acts differently. I don't care what they try to deny or say. I watched it, I've been there.
MORGAN: They perform, didn't they?
MASON: Judges, clerks, deputies, witnesses, lawyers, jurors. They all -- you can watch them. The jurors even in some cases I've tried, when clearly they're not going to be shown, their faces -- the cameras can't show them, they still will do -- will dress up with their -- as we used to say, their Sunday best to come to court.
MORGAN: You're a very experienced lawyer who's been in this game a long, long time. You're used to clients presumably over the years lying to you. We know from Casey Anthony that -- by her own admission she lied for a long time to law enforcement officers. Could she be pulling the wool over your eyes?
MASON: Well, I guess anything is possible. But I've been defending cases a long time. First time I defended -- my first murder case was 1973. And I've tried well in excess of 300 jury trials. I'm older. I have experiences in the world. Military experience and lawyer experience. World experience. Anything is possible.
If so, she's probably the best there is. I do not believe for a minute that she has or even attempted to pull the wool over my eyes or anybody else's on the team. We all believe very strongly and committed to her.
MORGAN: She said to me, I'm trying to adjust the best that I possibly can. You know, given everything that continuously being thrown at me every day. I have good days and bad days. I'm trying to take the best out of everything.
What is the reality of Casey Anthony's daily life? What will she be doing tomorrow for example?
MASON: Well, she will read books. She'll watch movies. She told me -- the other day, goes, I mean a couple of notes of what she likes to watch. She of course doesn't watch the news. She told you she'll watch this if it's --
MASON: You know, she doesn't watch the news. She doesn't watch these so-called reality shows that are about as real as wrestling. She is reading now this trilogy of books called "Hunger Games," which I'm not familiar with.
MORGAN: I've heard these, yes.
MASON: But she's read Grisham books she likes. And she particularly likes books dealing with international travel.
MORGAN: I think the "Hunger Games" is about -- it is about -- kids killing each other.
MASON: Yes, yes.
MORGAN: Weird subject matter.
MASON: Apparently has taken on like the "Harry Potter" stuff, I guess. She's very interested in photography. Her -- she works out a lot. Her favorite shows, "I Love Lucy," "The Three Stooges." Old movies. Particularly ones in black and white. Travel. Those types of things that she some day would like to be able to do. And she will be able to do.
MORGAN: You think she'd like to be a mother again?
MASON: She probably would. It would take a long time for her to be accepted in a new world, a new life. But to take that risk, I think. She certainly was very committed to it and loved her daughter. Like this one letter said and all the photographs, there's tens of thousands of photographs. That child was a photographed child by the family. All of them with Casey in a very loving relationship and playing and so forth.
MORGAN: And on two points of detail, she said to me, I do not weigh 500 pounds as one magazine has stated. And I'm not moving to Costa Rica.
MASON: Yes, you know, we get called and hear about these rumors all the time. And I can assure you that she doesn't weigh 500 pounds. It's doubtful that she weighs 120 pounds. Costa Rica. I don't know where that comes from. I don't know where any of this stuff comes from. But you know, there are people who will say and make up anything and others that will hear it and will choose to believe it and run with it and fabricate more and make up more stuff and it never ends.
MORGAN: Well, it was a fascinating experience to talk to her. She is, in many ways, an iconic figure in this country for the wrong reasons. But it's certainly interesting to get her take on where she is and on some of the issues about her.
I appreciate you guys coming in. Cheney Mason, thank you very much indeed.
MASON: All right. Thank you.
MORGAN: Thank you.