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ABC News gets first juror from Casey Anthony trial to talk: 32-year-old Jennifer Ford

dianesawyer-onset.jpgABC News has emailed a story featuring comments from one of the jurors on the Casey Anthony trial, a 32-year-old woman named Jennifer Ford previously known as Juror Number 3. The network says her comments will be featured on World News with Diane Sawyer and a Primetime Nightline special tonight.

And although the gossip website TMZ has a story about one juror -- Number 6 -- who insists on payment to speak, ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said the network did not pay money to Ford for her story.

The juror's mother, Lynn Ford, also told St. Petersburg Times writer Leonora LaPeter Anton that her daughter and other would have free access to Disney World (The Walt Disney Company owns the ABC Network).

But Schneider also specifically denied that account, saying the juror is staying at a Disney hotel in Orlando to appear on Good Morning America Thursday morning, but she "absolutely does not" have free access to the theme parks.

The issue is touchy enough for ABC News -- which paid $200,000 to Casey Anthony years ago to license video and pictures from her -- that Nightline anchor Terry Moran proclaimed on Twitter that the network had not paid Ford.

"I'm interviewing one of the "real" jurors in the #CaseyAnthony case tonight on @Nightline Primetime. One of the twleve(sic) who decided the case," he wrote. "Any rumor that ABC compensated the juror I am intreviewing(sic) tonight on @Nightline Primetime is utterly FALSE."

According to ABC News' story: "Ford said today that she and the other jurors cried and were 'sick to our stomachs' after voting to acquit Casey Anthony of charges that she killed her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

'I did not say she was innocent,' said Ford. 'I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be.'"

abc_juror_nt_110706_wg.jpgIn another comment, Ford told ABC: "Everyone wonders why we didn't speak to the media right away," Ford said. "It was because we were sick to our stomach to get that verdict. We were crying and not just the women. It was emotional and we weren't ready. We wanted to do it with integrity and not contribute to the sensationalism of the trial." (image from ABC News)

ABC provided little information about Ford in its initial story, beyond noting she is a 32-year-old nursing student.  According to juror profiles published in the Orlando Sentinel and elsewhere, Ford has no children, is a student in a nursing program at St. Petersburg College who expects to graduate in May 2012. She also was the only juror claiming to have never heard of the case before being called to jury duty.

All jurors were picked in Pinellas County to avoid the media saturation near Orlando, but the judge presiding over the case didn't release jurors' names. On Thursday, the St. Petersburg Times will join several news outlets in filing a motion to gain access to the names as a public record; each juror was given copies of more than two dozen letters from media outlets requesting comment.

As time passes and more people connected to the case speak out, rumors mount that those close to the case are getting big paydays, though no payments connected to post-verdict interviews have yet surfaced. Anthony's defense attorney Jose Baez also gave an interview to ABC, speaking with Barbara Walters for stories also slated to air in World News, Primetime Nightline and elsewhere.

According to ABC News' story, Ford also praised her fellow jurors: "They picked a great bunch of people, such high integrity. And there was high morale," she said. "We all joked. We are like a big group of cousins."

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 10:47pm]


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