Casey Anthony during her murder tiral in Orlando, Fla.
Lilia Luciano, NBC News correspondent
MIAMI -- Lies and imaginary friends permeated Casey Anthony’s first-degree murder trial this summer. Now that it’s over and Anthony roams free, the fantasies are coming back to haunt her.
A hearing is set to begin Friday morning in Orlando in which Judge Belvin Perry will put a price tag on her lies. He’ll decide how much, if anything, Anthony should reimburse the state of Florida and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for the fruitless chases by investigators as they followed her made-up leads about the whereabouts of her daughter, Caylee, who was later found dead.
"Imaginary" people are also seeking damages.
A woman named Zenaida Gonzalez filed a defamation lawsuit claiming Casey Anthony stained her name when she used it to identify "Zanny the Nanny," whom she claimed kidnapped Caylee in 2008.
Anthony’s civil attorney. Charles Greene, claims the suit is unfounded since the name Casey Anthony gave officers back in 2008 was "Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez" and the plaintiff is named simply "Zenaida Gonzalez."
A common misconception when it comes to Hispanic names is that when faced with three names, many assume "the name in the middle" is a "middle name"… Wrong. In the case of "pretend-nanny" Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, "Fernandez" would be her last name, her father’s name -- if, of course, she had been a real person. Gonzalez would have been her mother’s name.
Gonzalez "does not call herself Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez because that’s not her name … nor does she have a good claim for defamation being that she can’t point to any particular statement about her," Green says, adding that he’s confident the case won’t reach court.
For Gonzalez’s attorneys, the key is is the source of the name. They claim Casey snatched that name from a visitor log their client signed at the Sawgrass apartments in Orlando, the same place Anthony told police she had last seen Caylee alive, placing Gonzalez at what was then suspected to be a crime scene.
A judge ruled Thursday that Anthony must show her face Oct. 8 to give a deposition in the lawsuit. She’ll do so from an undisclosed location via videoconference, and her testimony will remain sealed for a month.
Anthony was acquitted of murder, but she was found guilty of providing false information to law enforcement; among those lies: the nanny tale. Now Anthony is appealing those charges, and her attorney says she’ll likely wield her Fifth Amendment right to avoid giving any statement on her video deposition.
If the lawsuit fails, as Anthony’s attorneys expect, we may never know just how much imagination went into Casey Anthony’s initial defense. If it goes to trial, actress Juliette Lewis, a name Anthony used for a make-believe co-worker, may also have a shot at cashing in on this unfortunate story.