TAMPA — A bankruptcy judge ruled Tuesday that the two defamation suits against Casey Anthony will proceed in his court and not in Orange County Circuit, where they were initially filed.
The ruling from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May in Tampa is a small victory for Anthony, whose attorneys argued they wanted the lawsuits handled federally.
Zenaida Gonzalez and Roy Kronk each are suing Anthony for defamation. The cases were progressing in Orange County until Anthony filed for bankruptcy protection in January.
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Gonzalez claims Anthony tarnished her reputation by telling detectives a nanny with a similar name kidnapped her daughter Caylee in 2008.
Kronk, the meter reader who found Caylee's body, claims Anthony's defense attorney Jose Baez wrongly implicated him in the toddler's death.
Gonzalez and Kronk wanted their cases to continue in Orange County Circuit Court, but Anthony's attorneys want May to decide if the suits are dischargeable claims, which her bankruptcy would clear out, before determining their merits.
During a brief hearing Tuesday, May said Anthony appears to be "destitute."
The judge questioned the wisdom of spending time and effort on claims that may ultimately be discharged in bankruptcy.
May is giving Kronk and Gonzales 21 days to file their claims in his court.
If the claims proceed in bankruptcy court, a federal jury could ultimately hear the case.
After the hearing, Kronk's attorney Howard Marks said his client is looking forward to his day in court.
Marks said he will be filing a claim in bankruptcy court and will ask to depose Anthony.
Meanwhile, Anthony's attorneys said they were pleased with May's ruling.
Anthony did not attend the hearing and her attorneys would not provide any updates on her whereabouts or livelihood.
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