Well, one mystery of the Casey Anthony trial has been solved. We now know why Assistant State Prosecutor Jeffrey Ashton followed up the not guilty verdict with his sudden retirement. He's not hanging his head in shame: he's trying to cash in with a new book.
Now let's heap on the irony, why don't we? Ashton has titled his attempt to pretend he didn't totally screw up in court Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony. Well, he got the "imperfect" part right.
Ashton is supposed to be one of the good guys. A prosecutor bypasses the lure of the big money an attorney can make in private practice for the pay of public service. They work for the people. When he suddenly retired, literally hours after the verdict was read, the obvious assumption was that after 30 years on the public payroll and such a public loss, he felt like he wasn't really doing his job. He passed the torch.
Angry as people might have been that prosecutors couldn't craft a rock solid case with someone who seemed so guilty, there was a dignity in that Jeff Ashton story. We could imagine that we still have people who care about fighting for justice. We could assume that he really cared about little Caylee and the job he did -- or didn't do -- for her. But as the old saying goes, when you assume, you really do make an ass out of "u" and me.
Turns out we all could have used a healthy dose of cynicism when Ashton ran off like a shot. With this announcement, it certainly seems a heckuva lot LESS likely that he was upset with the verdict and a heckuva lot MORE like he had this planned all along. He knew the public's fickle nature meant he only had a finite amount of time to sell his story and get a big payday. After 30 years of public service pay, who could resist?
Jeff Ashton's decision doesn't make me sick, but it does make me pretty sad. So sad, in fact, that the only thing that may leave me more depressed today is seeing sales for a book that won't be released until November -- a book written by a guy who is just cashing in on his role in a national horror story -- already skyrocketing. Jeff Ashton may be a bestselling author by day's end, but he still has to look himself in the mirror when he wakes up in the morning. Here's hoping HE likes what he sees.
What do you think? Is this a natural turn of events or a disturbing betrayal by one of the "good guys"?
Image via Amazon