TAMPA, Fla. - A judge did not rule at Casey Anthony's bankruptcy hearing on Thursday if two civil lawsuits against Anthony can proceed.
The Tampa federal judge said he will rule in three weeks how the lawsuits filed by Zenaida Gonzalez and Roy Kronk will proceed against Anthony, who has filed for bankruptcy, for defamation.
The judge must determine whether Anthony would be put on trial in Orlando in the defamation lawsuits first or should the judge determine at a smaller trial in Tampa whether Gonzalez and Kronk would be entitled to money under Anthony's bankruptcy before allowing the civil trials to take place.
Anthony was not at the hearing on Thursday but no matter how the judge decides to proceed with the two lawsuits filed against her, the judge indicated Anthony may be required to testify in court.
Anthony's attorney say even though her criminal appeals are over that she is still protected by her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Gonzalez and Kronk's attorneys say they believe she can no longer plead the Fifth Amendment for protection.
Gonzalez's attorneys said in court they believe a jury should decide if Anthony ruined Gonzalez's reputation by claiming a babysitter with a similar name kidnapped Anthony's daughter, Caylee.
Gonzalez and Kronk want the trials held in state circuit court, where they were originally filed.
But before the trial takes place in an Orlando courtroom, Anthony's lawyers want the judge to hold a small trial in Tampa federal court, saying the lawsuits filed by Kronk and Gonzalez are frivolous. Anthony's attorneys say even if she lost the cases, her bankruptcy would prevent the plaintiffs from collecting money.
Anthony filed for Chapter 7 protection in January in Tampa, claiming $1,000 in assets and nearly $800,000 in liabilities. Gonzalez and Kronk were listed as creditors and their cases were put on hold.
Anthony was acquitted of murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, in 2011 in Orlando. She initially claimed in 2008 that a nanny by the name of Zenaida Gonzalez kidnapped Caylee. At trial three years later, however, Anthony's lead attorney, Jose Baez, said Caylee drowned in a swimming pool at the Anthony family home.
Gonzalez says her reputation was ruined because she was linked to the case by having a very similar name to the fictitious nanny.
Kronk, an Orange County meter reader who found Caylee's remains, claims his reputation was harmed when Anthony's attorneys wrongly implicated him in the Caylee's death.
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