Rosalie Bolin

Defense consultant Rosalie Bolin sits with Casey Anthony in the courtroom at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center, Thursday afternoon, May 12, 2011, on the fourth day of jury selection in her trial, in Clearwater, Fla. (JOE BURBANK, ORLANDO SENTINEL / May 12, 2011)

Jose Baez just can't seem to stay away from controversy.

In the nearly three years he's represented Casey Anthony — whose case has enough drama of its own — Baez has been linked to a "spokesman" who tried to extort a journalist, and was working with lawyer Todd Macaluso until he got in trouble with the California Bar last year.

Now, Baez is working with a woman who's married to a killer sitting on Florida's death row.

The latest revelation came during jury selection this week, when mitigation specialist Rosalie Bolin appeared at the defense table with Anthony. As a mitigation specialist, her job is to find information about Casey Anthony's life that could help the defense in the event she's found guilty.

Bolin's well-known in the Tampa Bay area, not just by attorneys who turn to her expertise in death cases, but for her personal life.

She used to be married to a Tampa attorney — until she met murderer Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. and eventually married him.

Bolin, 52, wouldn't comment on her role in Anthony's case today.

In 1996, she told the Los Angeles Times — in an article that describes how she left her socially prominent husband and children — that she and Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. married over the phone. She was in a Gainesville apartment and he was in jail.

At that time, the couple met every Saturday in the cafeteria of the state prison in Starke.

Since then, Rosalie Bolin has been involved with other high-profile cases, including that of Thomas Rigterink, a former model convicted of stabbing two people to death in Winter Haven.

She's a regional director for the Florida Capital Resource Center, and her biography on the non-profit's website said she owns Criminal Specialist Investigations in Tampa.

Bolin's been involved in more than 700 murder cases in the trial, penalty and post-conviction phases, the website said.

Last year, Bolin was briefly hired by the public defender's office in Duval County as a contract employee to work on a death penalty case.

But that employment lasted only a matter of weeks before she was let go.

"We learned that she had a fairly colorful past and that alone had warranted some amount of media interest in her as a person. And that extra attention to her personal life, we felt, was distracting to her serious role as a mitigation specialist," Matt Bisbee, spokesman for the public defender's office, said Wednesday.

"We found that it would probably be a little more helpful to our clients and our attorneys on the case to not have that particular media attention focused on the personal life on people assisting."

Bolin's visited her husband more than a dozen times this year, most recently as Saturday, according to Department of Corrections records.

Neither Baez nor fellow defense attorney Cheney Mason would comment on Bolin.

Throughout the last three years, Anthony's defense team has had a number of members or associates come and go.

Early on, Baez confounded reporters by taking on a media-relations company that used several anonymous — and often irritable and unpredictable — spokesmen calling themselves "Todd Black."

Baez severed ties with the company after one of the people turned out to be a felon who served time for trying to extort money from a television reporter in California.

Then, about a year ago, Macaluso filed a motion to be removed from Anthony's case because he was on "involuntary inactive status with the California State Bar ... for an undetermined period of time."

The California State Bar accused Macaluso of misappropriating about $145,000 and misusing nearly $61,000 in client money.

Macaluso denied any willful violation, blaming his staff and saying he was distracted and traumatized at the time by his brother's death.

The California Bar accused Macaluso of "moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption."

Anthony Colarossi of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. apavuk@tribune.com or 407-420-5735