The most astonishing thing is that both sides “concur” that it’s a “legal issue” serious enough to require stopping the proceedings, and unrelated to the usual bickering. Both sides haven’t concurred about anything for quite a while.
Sounds like a problem with the jury. Juror misconduct, maybe.
Possibly a plea agreement? In a normal trial that would be a possibility, but I don’t know about this one.
Update: For some reason the Christian Science Monitor seems to have some of the best reporting on all this.
Several issues present themselves. First, there are phone records pertaining to meter reader Roy Kronk, helpful to the defense, that appear to have been withheld by the prosecution. This is what is known as a Brady violation. Whether it’s serious enough to warrant halting the trial I don’t know, but it seems unlikely.
Second, there was a contact between the Department of Defense and prosecutor Jeff Ashton regarding defense expert witness William Rodriguez, who was the subject of much controversy last week. Apparently the DoD informed the prosecutor’s office that if Mr. Rodriguez testified for the defense he would be fired from his job at the DoD.
Now this is very interesting and also representative of so much that goes on. The DoD would be happy of Rodriguez were testifying for the prosecution; but since he is testifying for the defense he is slated to be canned. Institutions like the DoD and the Florida state’s attorney’s office have an affinity for each other that is not shared with defense attorneys. As you might imagine this makes getting witnesses very difficult for criminal defendants, a hundred times more difficult than it is for the prosecution, and that’s just one area where prosecutors have a huge advantage.
Why on earth would the DoD contact the prosecutor’s office about a defense witness out of the blue? It makes no sense at all.
Ashton denies any wrongdoing, and denies he contacted the DoD first. I do not believe him. Maybe it wasn’t him personally, but someone in that office did. It is a fair inference from the mere fact that there was any contact at all between the state’s attorney’s office and the DoD that the state’s attorney’s office was trying to sabotage the defense case behind the scenes. In fact, it is the only reasonable inference.
That would be serious enough to derail the whole thing. Yet the judge indicated that the reason for the abrupt halt had nothing to do with these witness issues.
There is also speculation that Casey Anthony wants to fire her attorney Cheney Mason because he screwed up yesterday. This seems unlikely, but it would fit with certain other observations from the morning’s festivities. And this would also be a serious enough development that it would justify halting the trial.
So it’s anyone’s guess, but the Christian Science Monitor seems not only to be on top of it, but perhaps the only media outlet just reporting and not editorializing and sensationalizing the whole thing.