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Brookhaven family had special Anthony trial connection

As the nation watched from afar as CaseyAnthony underwent six weeks of trial surrounding her daughter’sdeath in 2008, one Brookhaven family had a more intimaterelationship.

    Brookhaven attorney Clint Gardner’s father-in-law, J. Cheney Mason,was a member of Anthony’s defense team in the trial that concludedTuesday with her being found not guilty in the child’s death.Gardner is married to Mason’s daughter Holly.

    Mason was asked by defense attorney Jose Baez to help because inFlorida a lawyer must have qualifications to try a death penaltycase. Mason, a successful litigation lawyer based in Orlando,fulfilled this requirement.

    Gardner said although he has seen Mason on TV over the years, theAnthony case differed in the concentration of coverage itreceived.

    “It was interesting for my wife and children to see theirgranddaddy on TV every night,” he said.

    Gardner said Mason wanted to become involved with the trial to makesure Anthony was given a fair one.

    “She was being tried by the media and convicted by the media,” hesaid.

    Mason wanted to ensure if she was convicted it was through thecourt and not the media.

    “I have to agree with Cheney’s stance on that,” Gardner said. “Shewas tried according to the law and found not guilty.”

    Anthony was found not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravatedchild abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. She was foundguilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information todeputies. The jury reached a verdict after 11 hours ofdeliberation.

    He said Mason has been working close to full-time on the case, buthe was also available if his family needed him. Gardner said heglad for that link, and it allowed him to look at the case with adifferent perspective.

    “He’s very good at what he does,” Gardner said of Mason. “I knewwhen he got in it, he was in it to win it.”