[Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET] Tuesday's verdicts in the Casey Anthony case - she was acquitted of felonies including murder, and found guilty of four misdemeanor counts - were a "historic rejection of the prosecution’s case," CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.
"They sought the death penalty against this woman, and she got convicted of four misdemeanors (of providing false information to a law enforcement officer). This is a historic rejection of the prosecution’s case and an enormous victory – for better or worse – for Casey Anthony,” Toobin said on CNN minutes after the verdicts were read.
“She won and the government lost. ... In most courtrooms in the United States, if you’re convicted of misdemeanors, you do not get a prison sentence. So, the fact that the sentencing is just coming on Thursday - two days from now - suggests that there will not be much to this sentencing," Toobin said.
A lack of evidence pointing to a time of death and a cause of death for Casey's daughter Caylee was key to the acquittal, according to Toobin.
"There was never even a theory of when or how or even why Casey Anthony killed her daughter," he said. "There is certainly a lot of evidence that she behaved terribly, that she lied about all sorts of things. But in terms of murder, much less first-degree murder – intentional murder - there really was a big gap in the evidence, and I certainly expect that when these jurors come to explain their verdict, the failure to prove a time of death or cause of death will be a major, major factor.
"You can’t fault the prosecution for the absence of evidence. The evidence is what it is. But certainly those are the key facts in this acquittal."
Toobin said he believes Anthony, who has been held in a Florida jail since her arrest in 2008, will be released soon.
"If she were convicted of four misdemeanors in New York state, she would never get any jail time. She would get probation. There are almost no prisoners in New York state – which is the state I know best – who are in prison for misdemeanors,” Toobin said.
“Misdemeanors are not prison cases in my experience in New York and most other states, and I would expect that she not get any jail time. ... I don't know why her lawyers didn’t make a motion to get her out today,” he said.
The acquittals, Toobin said, cannot be appealed.
“Tomorrow, Casey Anthony can go on the steps of the courthouse and confess to murder, and under the double jeopardy clause to the Constitution, she could not be tried again," he said. "This case is over. Forever. Done. She will never go on trial again for this case.”