Photo: A&E Networks
Lifetime’s much anticipated movie “Prosecuting Casey Anthony” premiered Saturday night.While we went into it expecting Lifetime’s typical dramatic flair, the movie’s unflattering portrayal of the star prosecutor in the case was a little over the top.
Rob Lowe’s rendition of prosecutor Jeff Ashton made the experienced jurist seem incompetent and even clueless at times.
Casey Anthony was acquitted in July 2011 of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, in a stunning development that grabbed national headlines.
Ashton’s team arguably made some mistakes during the trial. Most notably, prosecutors missed a Google search done on the Anthony home computer for “fool-proof suffocation,” according to a new book by Casey Anthony’s lawyer. During the trial itself the defence accused prosecutors of conducting a “lackluster, and at times, incompetent investigation” into the death of Caylee Anthony, the Christian Science Monitor reported at the time.
Still, Ashton is widely considered an experienced and sharp litigator.
In the movie that aired Saturday, Lowe’s portrayal of Ashton made the 30-year veteran of the prosecutor’s office seem like a bumbling fool.
During the movie, when Lowe argued a point to the jury, he would frequently say to the court “That’s a fact” even when the evidence was in dispute.
The Lifetime version of Ashton’s interaction with witnesses was also rather questionable.
Prosecutors called George Anthony, Casey’s father, as their first witness, and it was clear from the film he wasn’t prepared to take the stand.
The cinematic version of Ashton spent nearly no time preparing George Anthony and the only time the two were shown interacting on screen, they were having short, emotional conversations and not focusing at all on preparing for the rigorous trial.
Lowe also portrayed Ashton as a very close-minded prosecutor. Within the first half hour of the movie, Lowe decided right away the appropriate charge was first-degree murder, even though it was clear the prosecutor was still gathering evidence.
The portrayal made it seem as if Ashton simply decided charges on a whim without knowing all of the facts.
In general, Lowe’s bumbling manner in the courtroom, the way his character failed to prep trial witnesses, and his smug attitude are a pretty unflattering portrayal of Ashton, which was surprising given the fact that the movie was supposedly based on Ashton’s book about the case.
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