HLN host Nancy Grace has been credited with making the Casey Anthony case a national story. She has been outspoken in her belief that Anthony is guilty of murdering her daughter, despite a jury's verdict. She's also a former prosecutor with strong opinions about what went on in the Florida courtroom in the past few weeks. She spoke with CNN.com about how she would have tried the case, the "CSI effect" on juries and why she doesn't "give a fig" about what Anthony's defense team thinks about her.
Grace: As I’ve always said since 1984, when I started trying cases, you win or lose your case - it’s all over at the end of voir dire (jury selection). I’ve always believed that. It’s true. I think this jury hamstrung the state. The state absolutely put up a good case and I get real fed up when I hear this is a circumstantial case. Most cases are circumstantial because rarely do people commit felony crimes in the open. Murder, armed robbery, you do it in private, in secret, so very rarely is there an eyewitness or direct evidence to a crime.
CNN: Watching a case like this, do you miss the courtroom and prosecuting cases?
Grace: I always miss the courtroom. I miss the courtroom all the time because the courtroom gave me immediate gratification. I knew I’d done something worthwhile when I put someone behind bars or represented crime victims, I knew I had a done a good thing by speaking for people who couldn’t speak for themselves. I don’t get that immediate gratification from being on TV.
CNN: As a former prosecutor, if you could retry this case, how would you do it differently?
Grace: I think they did such a very good job it’s hard to attack anything they did. I think maybe I would’ve taken a different tack in jury selection but that’s really it. There were some obvious problem jurors: You had one on there with an arrest for DUI; another with an arrest for drug paraphernalia; one whose sister and her boyfriend beat up their father; one juror who said she could not judge. Why the heck would you not want someone off the jury who cannot judge? The jury is the sole judge of facts, evidence and the law. Who the heck wants someone who can’t judge? They tried to get rid of them but were not successful. I think the jury was snakebitten from the get-go.
CNN: What do you think is the most important piece of evidence that the jury never saw or heard?
Grace: I don’t believe they saw all of the audiotapes or heard all the videotapes (of Casey Anthony’s jailhouse phone calls). I think the so-called bodyguard or bail bondsman had a lot to offer, his discussions with tot mom when she was referring to Caylee in the past tense before her body had been found, her being very flip about Caylee, being more concerned about a hot guy flirting with her on Facebook. Evidence of that nature.
There was another inmate that she allegedly discussed chloroform with, the fact there was absolutely an inmate who talked about a child floating in a pool in the backyard while the family was in the house … she lifted that story and transposed it onto Caylee. The fact that that inmate may not have had direct discussions with tot mom does not matter. … She did discuss it behind bars and within earshot of tot mom when they were in jail, on the cellblock at same time. I understand why the state didn’t do it, because when you start dealing with snitches and inmates it can blow up in your face.
CNN: What was the biggest weakness in the state’s forensic evidence, if any?
Grace: The single biggest weakness was the state didn’t have a cause of death. That is not required - there have been many, many cases with murder 1 convictions without any body. But the fact that the defendant can get rid of a body or let a body (be) hidden for so long that you cannot determine a cause of death is not a reason a defendant should get a benefit or a gold star or A-plus. I think the fact they didn’t have a cause of death hurt them because the jury could not understand the case or take it in. Juries have been watching too much "CSI" - they want murder weapon, DNA, fingerprints. In this case, there was no blood, no murder weapon. They wanted things that didn’t exist. They wanted a murder weapon – the murder weapon was tot mom’s hands. I also think the jury didn’t understand the law or felony murder. All said, it was a bad jury and I do not think it reflects on the case the state put up.
CNN: What did you think of the defense case? Did their experts neutralize the state’s experts?
Grace: I don’t think much of the defense case. However, when it gets so complex for jurors, the experts cancel themselves out.
CNN: How would you have handled Cindy Anthony? Should the state consider charging her with perjury?
Grace: I know she committed perjury but I don’t think a jury would convict her. I think that’s a very tough decision for authorities to make ... but no doubt what she said on the stand was not true.
CNN: People credit your involvement in highlighting the case early on. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Grace: The only thing I would’ve done differently is put on my hip boots and gone down to Florida and looked for Caylee myself.
CNN: What did you think of Cheney Mason’s statements that lawyers like yourself engaged in media assassination for the past three years?
Grace: I don’t recall him mentioning me by name but I think he’s more likely targeting local lawyers and members of the Florida bar who were discussing the case in the community. However, on the off chance he is, I really don’t give a fig. I mean, every time you take a stand on anything or stand up for anything, somebody’s going to dislike you and the fact that one of tot mom’s defense lawyers doesn’t like me doesn’t concern me in the least. I don’t like them much either.
CNN: Do you think it’s unethical for lawyers like yourself to make such pointed statements about a defendant’s guilt or innocence on national television?
Grace: Let me see, if I’m correct, the Constitution has a little thing called the First Amendment which allows for freedom of speech and under freedom of speech, unless it is defamatory, I’m pretty much allowed to speak my mind, and the fact I’m an upstanding member of the Georgia and D.C. bars does not cause me to lose my freedom of speech. As a matter of fact, if you were to read the minutes that were taken down as the Constitution was being written and passed, our fathers wanted courtrooms large enough for the whole community to sit in and see. No closed-door justice, no secret justice, and to me, that ensures a lively discourse about our justice system and what’s going on in the courtroom. So the answer to your question is no. I don’t consider discussing court cases unethical. In fact, I consider it healthy.
CNN: You have said that our system of justice requires us to respect the jury's decision, but since the verdict you have continued to maintain that Casey Anthony is guilty and that the jurors erred in their decision. When is it time to come to terms with the fact that the jurors disagreed with you and move on?
Grace: I’ve already come to grips with the fact they disagree with me, and I don’t agree with them. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with their decision. They were wrong: Tot mom murdered her daughter.
CNN: If you had access to the jurors, what would you ask them?
Grace: I would ask them why they did what they did. I’d like to know why. Not that it’s going to make any difference. There’s no way to explain their verdict, no logical way. Maybe that’s the problem. I’m trying to apply logic to people who were illogical in their jury deliberations.
CNN: Is there anything Casey Anthony can do to redeem herself? What would you like to see her do?
Grace: I’d like to see her admit she’s guilty and go to jail. Other than that, I’m not in the business of forgiving. That’s up to the lord. I’m just relieved that I believe, that I know, Caylee is in a place where her mother cannot hurt her anymore.
Watch Nancy Grace Monday through Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. For the latest from Nancy Grace click here.
NANCY GRACE the trial is over. A verdict has been reached (like it or not). Move on. Quit crying over what you think should have happened. It is over and the media should leave it alone. You are getting very boring. All twelve jurors decided the verdict. No hold outs.
Nancy Grace wanted to be a star when she grew up and, since a star is a flaming ball of hot gas, she got her wish.
Nancy is an ignoramus.
i agree 100% with nancy grace. She see our process for justice with experience and intelligence. Justice has not been served in this case. The fact is that Caylee was murdered and she deserved an intelligent analysis of the facts. The jury failed miserably in doing their job. Nancy isn't afraid of calling it like it (truthfully) is!
Both Nancy Grace, the public and the jury are all asking the same question: why? Why did the jury find her not guilty? I think Nancy's right, they didn't understand the charges against her. Had they considered the "worst case of child abuse" is to allow your 2 year old to be missing for over a month before you report it. Combine that with leading the police on a wild goose chase so that she couldn't be found, and I think they'd of at least charged her with child abuse. Those facts of the case are not contested by either side.
The child was dead fr those 31 days, and you can't abuse a dead child as they are already dead.
SHUT UP YOUR DOOOKIE FILLED MOUTH!! The jury was exactly right, Nancy Grace is a stone cold fish and you eat doo doo.
@ GloSeattle: I couldn't agree with you more. And you know what the worst case of child abuse is? MURDER! Poor little Caylee will never have a chance to grow, and experience life. It was all taken away the day she was killed at the hands of her mother. There is more to this saga than meets the eye, I know, and the entire family I am sure has a hand in a blatent cover up; but the truth will never be known. Its a shame. RIP little Caylee!
I doubt the JURY is asking why the JURY found her not guilty.
Obviously she was found not guilty because there was no proof that she was guilty. You 'knowing' it, Nancy Grace 'knowing' it, and anyone else in the public making misinformed decisions based on the Media Frenzy, and NOT FACTS, doesn't make it true.
Nancy doesn't have to agree with the jury and I hope that she never does. Who will the be the voice for that precious little girl?? So tragic. Nancy can be brash and abrasive, but I think she gave Caylee a voice through all of this and that's more than Caylee's mom, grandparents, uncle, and *dad??* did!!
Dookile Diddle ??? YOU MUST BE THE JUMPING MONKEY FROM THE RESTAURANT
The only people who agree with the GRACEless one are those who do not have a thought/mind of their own. I have seen it time and time again. She preys on the elderly, on those who do not speak english well and those who are feeble minded. Basically, half of the population. Sad but true.
I am astounded by this fact. If Casey was really guilty of killing her child, why would she not have reached a plea deal many months before a trial that could have ended in death by lethal injection. A plea deal was offered to her. Only an innocent person would swear to the end that they were innocent. Think about it, people, be logical!
It's not logical to put duct tape over the mouth of a dead 2 year old girl. Caylee was murdered. Casey made up the pool story. Defense created a doubt with a cooked up story and dumb jury did not realize that it's not enough to have a doubt, it should be reasonable doubt based on the evidence in front of them.
It's not logical to pick your nose, but people do it anyways.
SHUT UP YOU DOODEE EATER!
The prosecution was unable to prove that there was ever duct tape on Caylee. It made their assertion that this was how she was murdered weaker as a result.
Nancy Grace, on the other hand, never needed to bother with actual evidence to reach her conclusions.
Please tell me...which piece of evidence is it that proves Casey is the one who killed her daughter?
If George was molesting Caylee also, he would not want the authorities to examine her body and discover his semen. He had to go the dead pet route, and if Casey wouldn't go along with the plan ....
too bad George didn't FENCE THE POOL AND USE THE DUCT TAPE TO HOLD UP HIS PANTS!
I think someone needs to kick Casey Anthony in the taco until she can't have a baby no more!
this kid would have probably grown up to be another democrat...thanks Casey!
I wouldn't be suprised if "Her Grace" didn't get sued for slander or something. The things that come out of that lady's mouth (and I use lady very loosely) seem like nothing but trash trying to hurt someone so she can make money. That is why I stopped watching her a long time ago. She and Glenn Beck should start their own channel and call is stupid and stupider or Grace and Beck for short.
now I might watch that comedy show
OMG PEOPLE I WANT TO SUE CASEY ANTHONY BECause OF MY INTERNET CHARGES STOP SMILING AND WINKING TOT MOM STOP SMILING STOP SMILING AND f'n' WINKING STOP
Nancy Disgrace is an old bitter ugly mean spirited old woman who won't be happy til she villifies, batters and harangues another young woman (Melinda Duckett 2006) to death.
CNN will pay it. Money means nothing to this channel.
If I recall correctly, and I know I do, Nancy (dis)Grace convicted the members of the Duke Lacrosse Team too. When it was proven that the accuser was lying and the persecutor was rigging a conviction to further his career Nancy didn't have a damn word to say. As a matter of fact, as pointed out by Jon Stewart, she didn't even have the guts to show up for work. I pity her twins and the guy who took a dip in her acidic well!
You're exactly right. She was judge and jury for the Duke lacrosse team, she was judge and jury for Melinda Duckett (to which she paid $200,000 after being sued), and she's playing judge and jury here again.
Reading her answers about praising the prosecution is laughable; the Florida state attorney himself admitted they had limited evidence and no cause of death. Then she goes on to say that she "knows" Cindy Anthony is lying.
I hope someone decides to sue this woman again, and sue CNN too. They are crazy to be giving this woman airtime on their network.
Yes, she did exactly that. Convicted all 3 men before any DNA proved her wrong. AND she never had the balls to apologize!
Nancy Keep up the great job that you continue to do.
this statement is insulting to all americans.
Its funny to watch Nancy rage over this, or anything really, she's a nobody, the people that watch her are nobodies, they're the same people that thing jersey shore is entertaining fact is the state did not present a good case, too many loose ends and not enough evidence to back up their claims, the CSI effect, just another media catchphrase used to generate some headlines.
You could have easily put Casey's father or even her mother in her place with regards to the amount of evidence the state brought up trying to prove that Casey did it all alone, that fact alone is what you call reasonable doubt, thankfully this jury wasn't made up of ignorant media drones like Carmen Williams who let some clown like nancy grace make up their minds for them.
So you're a "nobody"?
my nuts r itching
that means NG is a carpet munching crossdressing tranny who wants to be a man and wishes she had a few inches hanging from between her legs
@666 – Nancy Grace undoubtedly has more "balls" than you! And I am sure they are brass. Must suck to be so jealous because she has backbone and insn't afraid to seek and fight for the truth...
hahahaha. She should change her name to Nathaniel Grace
The reason the jurors didn't have enough evidence to feel ok with giving casey a guilty verdict is because CASEY KEPT THE EVIDENCE FROM THEM by not reported her daughter's supposed accidental death! By the time the body was discovered it was too late to retrieve the necessary evidence to convict her with certainty. How do you convict her of lying-BELIEVE SHE LIED TO POLICE- and not find her responsible for her daughter's death? The only reason for lying is to cover something up!
There's a simple answer to that. Juries have to base their decisions on actual evidence, not personal opinion and assumptions. Lying to police is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed murder.
Nancy Grace is perhaps the most obnoxious and irrational person in all of the United States of America. To think that we reward her with attention because of these particular attributes astonishes me no end!
Some of you on here must be part of Casey's entourage
Casey is hot
@Sam – and apparently each and every jury member too. Face it, the state failed in their duty. If you cannot prove murder one, don't seek murder one.
Nancy Grace, please shut up. You and your ilk are destroying this country, and eroding our judicial process.
Agree Mike! She is a radical talking head with a huge sense of self.
In respect to the story about Nancy Grace and her opinion. What I see is that Nancy Grace used this story to launch her own personal agenda and ratings, and then when her trial by media backfired she is now throwing a temper tantrum. Regardless of whether Casey Anthony is actually guilty or not, the jury and a system that Nancy Grace supported until her and her show ended up with egg on her face, found Casey Anthony not guilty and since none of were on the jury we don't have all the facts that lead them to make their decision, and no Nancy Grace trial by media of her own opinions and basis doesn't count as knowing all the facts of the case. Let Nancy Grace go back to prosecuting since she has all the answers. Maybe she is better at the courtroom than her trial as judge and jury show that only came to reveal her personal interests. As far as her show is concerned, I will never watch it.
Well said, Greg. Nancy Grace did something similar with Melinda Duckett, and Grace ended up getting sued (and settling out of court for $200,000).
If she doesn't shut her mouth on this case, she'll be getting sued again – and she should get sued.
Quite correct. And it isn't the first time she's grossly distorted facts or outright lied to gain attention, ratings or money.
Look up her Wikipedia entry for an introduction to her earlier misdeeds. She really needs to follow Glen Beck and 'pursue other interests' off the airwaves.
@ Greg – A NOT GUILTY VERDIT DOES NOT MEAN INNOCENT!!!!!
She killed me and they stopped looking for my lost child.
Sorry, Paula...but everyone is presumed INNOCENT until proven guilty in a court of law. Therefore, since the jury found that she was *not* proven guilty, she REMAINS "innocent".
The GRACEless one should simply go away. CNN keeps her for ratings....sad really.
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