TAMPA — The legal fight over Casey Anthony's bankruptcy will continue, after a judge on Tuesday ruled that a pair of complaints filed by people suing her for defamation can move forward in federal court.
It was a defeat for Anthony, who now faces a deposition by attorneys for Zenaida Gonzalez, though Gonzalez's lawyers said in court that they've agreed not to publish the deposition or reveal its time or location.
Gonzalez and Roy Kronk both had defamation lawsuits pending against Anthony in state court when she filed for bankruptcy in January, and have been fighting to salvage their claims against her ever since.
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They filed complaints against Anthony's bankruptcy in federal court, arguing that Anthony was "willful and malicious" in damaging their reputations. Anthony's lawyers filed motions to dismiss those complaints.
On Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May declined to dismiss the Gonzalez complaint. Kronk's legal team will have to amend his complaint, but it will be allowed to move forward, May ruled.
Gonzalez filed suit in 2008 after Anthony claimed a similarly-named nanny had kidnapped her daughter, 2-year-old Caylee. The nanny didn't exist, and the girl's remains were later found by Kronk, a meter reader.
Anthony's lawyers argued Gonzalez's claim was based on one out-of-context remark Anthony made to her mother.
May ruled there were "disputed issues of fact" sufficient for the complaint to proceed.
After Anthony was charged with murder, Kronk alleges that her defense attorneys falsely implicated him in Caylee's death in statements to the media. Anthony was acquitted of murder at trial in July 2011.
Anthony's legal team argued that Anthony couldn't be held liable for her attorneys' comments. Kronk's lawyer, Howard Marks, countered Tuesday that Anthony's attorneys were acting with her consent.
"You cannot insulate yourself [by] saying, 'It wasn't me, it was my attorney,'" Marks said. "The fact that Ms. Anthony didn't state it doesn't get her anywhere."
Anthony has been living in hiding since the not-guilty verdict. She filed for bankruptcy in January, listing more than $792,000 in debt and less than $1,100 in assets.
May also ordered Anthony's lawyers, David Schrader and Debra Ferwerda, to compensate Gonzalez's lawyer Scott Shuker $500 for failing to consult him before filing a motion to block a deposition of Anthony.
Shuker said the motion wasted time because he would have met the Anthony attorneys' security requests if they'd asked.
"I'm not going to be unreasonable. I'm not interested in publicity," Shuker said.
Schrader countered that the Anthony team "learned about the deposition in the newspaper," after another Gonzalez lawyer, Matt Morgan, told reporters about it.
Whenever the deposition takes place, Anthony's lawyers have signaled she plans to assert her Fifth Amendment rights to avoid answering questions about her daughter's death.
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