Judge denies motion to delay Casey Anthony's civil trial

Zenaida Gonzalez suing Anthony for defamation

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Casey Anthony civil slander trial remains set for April 10.

A judge on Tuesday denied a motion by Anthony's civil attorneys to delay the trial on accusations she slandered a woman who shared a name with the imaginary nanny whom Anthony claimed kidnapped her daughter, Caylee.

Attorney Charles Greene argued the trial should be delayed so Judge Lisa Munyon could first consider motions from both sides that, if granted, could drastically change the legal groundwork for a trial.

If the defense's motion for summary judgment was granted entirely, it would lead to dismissal of the case without a trial being necessary.

And, Greene argued, there is no need to waste taxpayer money on security and logistics leading up to the trial, if Munyon ultimately decides to throw out the case.

"There is a lot of money already being spent on these security measures," Greene said. "If that money is spent on security matters and a trial does not occur, then it would be  obviously wasted."

But Munyon denied the request for a delay, saying pretrial motions could he heard on March 23, more than two weeks prior to trial.

Zenaida Gonzalez is suing Anthony for defamation, claiming Anthony slandered her when she told police a nanny named Zenainda Fernandez Gonzalez took Caylee in June 2008.

In fact, Anthony's attorneys admitted in her criminal trial that she knew Caylee was dead. A jury last July acquitted Anthony of all charges related to the death, but convicted her of lying to police, including about the nonexistent nanny.

After the hearing, Gonzalez' attorney, Keith Mitnik, did not let Anthony's professed concerns about taxpayer money go unanswered.

"I find it ironic that Casey Anthony, after sending law enforcement out in the woods chasing for her daughter, which she knows was a total waste of everyone's time in a horrendous way, is now worried about taxpayers' dollars," Mitnik said. "It's time for justice. It's time for a reckoning. It's upon us. You can smell it. You can feel it."

But a trial could still be scuttled if Munyon agrees with Anthony's position that she could not have slandered the plaintiff -- Zenadia Gonzalez -- because her imaginary nanny was named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, and Anthony told police the real Gonzalez' driver's license photo was not that of the nanny/kidnapper.

"The plaintiff is Zenaida Gonzalez," Greene told reporters after Tuesday's hearing. "She originally filed a complaint under the name Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, under which she assumed a false identity about the discrepancy.

After discussing the weakness of the plaintiff's case, Greene said his client may decide not to show up at all for the trial.

"From our perspective, Miss Anthony never said a thing about this plaintiff.  She has nothing to add.  She doesn't know her, so her appearance is not critical to the defense," Greene said.

Mitnik wants the judge to order the defense to provide Anthony's locaton, so he can serve her a subpoena, or order Greene to accept it on his client's behalf.

"What I hope is she's going to sit there the whole trial, listen to the whole thing, so my client can face her accuser," Mitnik said. "You don't owe that to Zenaida Gonzalez, just to show up?" he asked Anthony, rhetorically. "I'm sorry to bother you, lady."

"At one point, I'd like to hear something come out of her mouth," Mitnik continued. "Like, maybe, 'I'm sorry to Zenaida Gonzalez.' That would be a good start."

Greene said he will be ready for trial, if it comes to that.

"We're actually very happy that the case will be over in April, one way or the other," Greene said. "We're not afraid to try this case. The truth is on our side. This is not a case about what happened to Caylee. It's not a criminal case. It's about whether this particular plaintiff has a cause of action because something was said about her."

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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