Jose Baez on Why He Wrote a Book About the Casey Anthony Trial: Exclusive Interview

This morning, I wrote a mean blog post about attorney Jose Baez's upcoming book, Presumed Guilty, Casey Anthony: The Inside Story, coming out in July. I called it a "'let's make some cash off Casey Anthony' book" and called Baez "the guy who sold bikinis on the internet before writing a bottom-feeding book."

In hindsight, it's unsurprising that a public relations man was perturbed by it.

"Bottom-feeding book? It's Jose's story," said Michael Wright, who also did promotional work for O.J. Simpson's If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer*. "I don't usually call, but when it comes to a story like this... You wrote this with anger and animosity toward Jose."

That's true. I talked smack; it's a reflex. And Wright was correct when he pointed out that Baez did win "a case that couldn't be won." So let's fix it, I said. Let's get Jose's side of the story in there too. Here it is.

(Long story short: He says he's not taking advantage. People are talking about it, and he wants to give his side of things because people are getting it wrong.

My questions are paraphrased. Anything in quotation marks is a literal transcription of what Baez said. Forgive the ellipses.)

OK, Jose, why did you write this book?

"Initially, I wasn't going to," Baez said. "I gave one interview to Barbara Walters, and then I left. That was it... I tried to be as professional as I could... But, you know, the nonsense and the lies just wouldn't go away. People have this huge misconception because they just kept hearing one side of the story."

He cited the example of the bikini-salesman line:

"I never sold bikinis. I had a girlfriend who wanted to start up her own business," he said. "People go off and start saying all these kinds of things about me... It just got to the point where it wouldn't go away. People wouldn't stop asking about the case."

(The rest of the picture: Inc. and Bon Bon Bikinis were both incorporated in Florida under Baez's name.)

I asked him about why people shouldn't see his new book as taking advantage of the morbid obsession the trial and why it's not just contributing to the Casey Anthony circus.

"If it contributes to it, I understand that, but I don't think not doing it would have ended it," he said. "I was never really able to express myself the way I wanted to... I [had to] talk in sound bites... and that's not the way stories should be told."

He criticized "the version that's out there, what everyone knows right now" because it was "told from the perspective of people with no legal training" who were turning "complex facts... into a two-minute piece in the evening. And I don't think it does the facts any justice."

When asked if he thought future clients might be bothered by his writing a tell-all about his private dealings with a client, Baez said he didn't think so.

"I gave that a lot of consideration," he said, adding that it might actually work in his favor. "I think people will be able to see how hard I worked on the case... People think that a lawyer just throws on a suit and goes to court and yaps away."

He declined several times to say whether he asked Anthony about the book before writing it or whether she approved of it now.

"That, you'll have to wait till the book," he said, but added, "This book is my story, not Casey's."

*Note, 1:50 p.m.: Wright points out that he worked with the Goldman family, not Simpson, on the publication of If I Did It.

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Rich Abdill