As the Casey Anthony trial progressed, many observers wondered how a twenty-two-year-old who lived at home with her parents could possibly afford so many legal experts. After all, convincing learned scholars in various fields to review evidence and then show up in court takes money, and based on her lifestyle, Anthony herself didn’t have very much of it. Initial guesses speculated her parents may have chipped in a bit, but we now know those theories were off-base. She got a whole lot of money, but it didn’t come from friends or family members.

It turns out Casey Anthony sold pictures of herself and her daughter to ABC News for two hundred thousand dollars. During an interview with Frontline, her attorney Jose Baez admitted the transaction was made specifically to “mount a proper defense”. In fact, her lawyers only spent two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars total, the bulk of which obviously came from ABC.

Technically, nothing anyone did here was illegal. Anthony sold something she had to another party that wanted it for money, which was then used to pay for a legal defense. It’s not like ABC paid the legal experts themselves, but based on the timing and the way the transaction went down, the network had to know exactly what its money would be used for. No doubt another network or a tabloid would have stepped up and offered some money had ABC not done so, but that realization still doesn’t make it all feel any less morally ambiguous.

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