ORLANDO, Fla. - The battle over the State Attorney's Office for Orange and Osceola counties is growing more intense.
During their first sit-down television interview with Channel 9's Greg Warmoth on Tuesday, Lawson Lamar and Jeff Ashton verbally attacked each other on topics that included Casey Anthony and how much money they make.
On most every topic, not only did the two have different opinions, they had a different version of what happened. As expected, the Casey Anthony trial generated intense emotion.
Warmoth asked about Ashton's smile as he sat next to Linda Drane-Burdick, who was the head prosecutor in the trial.
“Linda and I had warned him six times over the course of that trial to keep control of his emotions,” said Lamar of Ashton.
“That's not true,” Ashton said. “Mr. Lamar didn't say anything. I don't remember us even talking during the trial. While we were in the courtroom fighting that battle, Mr. Lamar was in his office or at his million-dollar home in Winter Park.”
Lamar then took a shot at Ashton's claim to be the first in the U.S. to gain a conviction using DNA several years ago.
On the topic of salary and retirement, “He is drawing the same retirement trust fund that I do,” Lamar said as he pointed to Ashton.
“It's interesting that Mr. Lamar compares the $500,000 for pretending to retire compared to the $39,000 I got for actually leaving,” said Ashton.
“He got out,” said Lamar. “He took a small lump sum in order to get rich on Casey Anthony.”
As for running the office of the state attorney, “He couldn't even lead his household budget. He bankrupted his family,” said Lamar.
“It is a cheap shot, but I'm used to it,” said Ashton.
Ashton thought he and Lamar were supposed to show up for a forum Tuesday night, but Lamar was a no show. His camp said Wednesday Lamar had never agreed to be at the event.
Both have two planned public debates over the next few weeks.