Judge rules Casey Anthony doesn't have to pay off $800,000 debt

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Casey Anthony won't have to pay off her nearly $800,000 debt. That likely means taxpayers are still on the hook for nearly $200,000.

The $200,000 is how much the Orange County Sheriff's Office and other local law enforcement agencies said they spent in the search for Anthony's 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, when Anthony said the girl was missing.

Channel 9 legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said Anthony will have to pay federal income taxes on the $200,000 she received for selling her videos and photos of Caylee to ABC Television.

Anthony went on trial in 2011 on first-degree murder charges in the death of Caylee. Anthony was acquitted.

In her trial, which took place three years after she was indicted on the first-degree murder charges, Anthony's defense attorneys told the jury that Caylee drowned on the day she reportedly disappeared and that she was never really missing.

That led to convictions for lying to investigators and to an order by Chief Judge Belvin Perry that Anthony pay back what the sheriff's office and other law enforcement agencies spent looking for Caylee.

Wednesday's federal bankruptcy order discharging Anthony's debts does not specifically address whether she still owes that money, but Sheaffer said that most likely she does not.

"If this is a debt compensating law enforcement for a loss, it's usually not a debt that can survive bankruptcy," said Sheaffer.

But Sheaffer said Anthony does have to pay more than $80,000 in income taxes because of when she filed for bankruptcy.

Those taxes were assessed in November 2010, but since less than three years passed between then and when she filed for bankruptcy in January 2013, she still owes the Internal Revenue Service.

Anthony could still be forced to pay in two defamation lawsuits.

If the Tampa bankruptcy judge decides that Anthony's accusatory statements about a woman with the same name as her made-up nanny and about the man who found Caylee's remains were malicious and willful, those defamation lawsuits would come back to Orange County for juries to decide how much she would have to pay for them.