A judge today allowed a Kissimmee woman suing murder suspect Casey Anthony for defamation to seek punitive damages.

Anthony’s attorney, Jonathan Kasen, had wanted a judge to dismiss the civil case filed by the Morgan & Morgan law firm, which is representing Zenaida Gonzalez, a 38-year-old mother of six.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, Orange Circuit Court Judge Jose R. Rodriguez granted Gonzalez’s request to amend the complaint with new details and to seek punitive damages, which are meant to punish wrongdoers.


Gonzalez is suing Anthony for ruining her reputation and is seeking more than $15,000 in compensatory damages — an amount meant to compensate the plaintiff.

The potential amount of punitive damages has not been determined yet, said Gonzalez’s attorney, Keith Mitnik.

If Gonzalez’s wins the lawsuit, how could Anthony — an unemployed single mother who remains in the Orange County Jail — pay any damages?(Out of the secret fund she seems to be using to pay all of those lawyers.)

Mitnik said he didn’t know.

However, he pointed out if she struck any movie or book deal in the future, money could begin to flow. If she’s acquitted in her criminal case, they’ll spend “20 years chasing it if there is a verdict,” Mitnik said today.

Neither Anthony nor Gonzalez attended today’s hearing.

In July, Anthony told investigators that a baby sitter named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez took her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony.

At the time, detectives questioned Gonzalez — the woman suing Anthony — but cleared her after she told them she did not know Anthony or the toddler.

They showed a picture of Gonzalez to Anthony, who conceded the woman was not the nanny.

On Dec. 11, a meter reader found Caylee’s skeletal remains in woods less than a mile from her family home.

Anthony is charged with first-degree murder.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

Kasen — Anthony’s civil attorney — said he will ask the judge again to postpone the civil case while the criminal case is ongoing.

Anthony can’t take part in the civil case if information garnered could be used in the criminal case against her, he said.

He also added that his client has not harmed the woman’s reputation.

“You cannot intentionally harm someone you don’t know,” he said after the hearing. (If that is his reasoning we can all go around saying whatever we like about anyone as long as we don’t know them. I have some things that I would like to say about Michael Jackson, the Governor of California, and Nadya Suleman. I don’t know them so they wouldn’t harm their reputation.)

Mitnik considered the judge’s decision a major victory.

“This is about not just compensatory damages. It’s about punishment,” he said.

Another hearing is scheduled on Thursday.

That’s when Mitnik is going go ask the judge to force Anthony’s parents and brother to answer questions they refused during previous interviews.

He may also seek Casey Anthony to answer more questions.

Anthony replied to nearly all of the questions by invoking her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

“I think Ms. Anthony is reluctant to answer anything while the State of Florida hangs the specter of the death penalty over her head, as anyone would,” Kasen said.

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