Linda Drane Burdick speaks on Jeff Ashton, state attorney race

By Adam Longo, Anchor/Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 4:13 PM
State Attorney Debate
The Case Against Casey

She was a portrait of stability as the lead prosecutor during the Casey Anthony murder trial.

Linda Drane Burdick, a fierce advocate for the taxpayers and a dedicated attorney, entered the courtroom without flair or flamboyance.

So seemingly subdued, she raised eyebrows with her pink laptop during jury selection and her bright outfit for opening statements.

As lead prosecutor, Drane Burdick was in charge of the team that included Jeff Ashton, who is currently running for Orange-Osceola County state attorney.

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Florida Decides Election Special

  • Watch Jeff Ashton and incumbent Lawson Lamar in an exclusive News 13 State Attorney Debate, LIVE from the University of Central Florida on Tuesday, July 24, from 7–8 p.m., only on News 13.

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Jeff Ashton had several highly-charged exchanges with Casey Anthony's then-lead defense attorney, Jose Baez.

But Linda Drane Burdick told us that, at the direction of current state attorney Lawson Lamar and another one of her bosses, she sat down with Ashton on multiple occasions before the trial and urged him not to let Baez get under his skin.

Ashton's response to her: "You can't make me not be me."

During the most recent televised debate between Ashton and Lamar, the two men disagreed about when those conversations took place.

Lamar claimed he and Drane Burdick warned him to control his emotions six times during the Casey Anthony trial.

But Ashton said he never discussed anything with Lamar, and did not even recall talking to him at all during the trial.

So we reached out to Drane Burdick via phone, and she told us it's a semantic argument -- yes, she sat Ashton down multiple times during the case, but she said the only time it came up during the trial was after the following infamous exchange during the defense's closing arguments:

Jose Baez: "The truth is the truth, depending on who's asking the questions -- whether it's this laughing guy right here (pointing to Ashton)…"

Jeff Ashton: "Objection."

Baez: "…or whether it's myself."

Judge Belvin Perry: "Sustained."

When we asked Drane-Burdick about whom she supports in the race for state attorney, she replied: "I support my daughter."

We checked, and her daughter is not running a write-in campaign.

When asked about her reluctance to speak to the media, and if she ever sees a day when she will publicly discuss the Casey Anthony case, she said she won't say never, but she really doesn't want to do it.

Drane Burdick added she still changes the channel whenever she sees people on television talking about the case.