Nancy Grace: I don't have to agree with Casey Anthony jury
HLN host and former prosecutor Nancy Grace broadcasts live during verdict watch in the Casey Anthony trial this week.
July 6th, 2011
08:56 PM ET

Nancy Grace: I don't have to agree with Casey Anthony jury

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.

soundoff (2,650 Responses)
  1. Andrew G

    Nancy Grace sums up everything that is wrong with the media. This woman is a disgrace.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Whatndaworld

    Nancy, focus your anger on the prosecution. They screwed up. Why aren't you guys seeking interviews with them?

    July 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. thirdone

    Tot mom should be fed to the alegators.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trollie McTrollenstein

      Alligators. The word you typed was made up. Your spelling is probably one in a long list of problems that are the reason you, thankfully, don't make important decisions like who we feed to alligators.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Martin Meyerdierks

    Nancy Grace is the National Enquirer of CNN...a poor excuse for serious journalism, totally concentrating on sensational stories for the sake of ratings and trying to get the public to just agree with her opinions on stories when she has no real, legal, scientific, or otherwise facts to back her up. She's a shameful blemish on CNN's face. It's a shame that so many see her as the purveyor of "truth" in news stories when she only purveys her own "matter of fact" opinions (without the actual facts to back her up). I rank her up there with Rev. Moon and other "cult" leaders who poison the minds of the public with their views. Sad that CNN gives her a paycheck and presents her bile as "news".

    July 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichelleG

      Well said Martin!

      July 6, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Danny

    There's lots of venom here against Nancy Grace. I urge you to make your voice heard by contacting CNN at the "Contact Us" link to let them know how you feel about Nancy Grace.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rebecca

    Nancy Grace is a bit much at times, but she is right, often- including now. There is no other reasonable explanation than what the prosecution proved. The jury was crappy.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      nope

      July 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Father and Citizen

      Jury Duty is not a job, its a responsibility of being a citizen. The State needs to show the proof beyond all doubt! These 12 individuals didn't feel like the State Codes they were asked to convict on had matching evidence. Nobodies fault, each part of this trial did as they were suppose to, the Judge, the State, the Defense and Jury. The system worked. They didn't say she was innocent, just not guilty of the charges they were asked to consider! DIsgrace and the others in HLN need to stop twisting words!

      July 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cecilia Chand

      "Crappy"? What do you base that on? Facts or just the ignorant vitriol of Nancy Grace. It would behoove you to reserve judgment until and unless you hear an explanation how the jury came to the conclusion that they did. Then again, you could be like Nancy Grace and make up some sensational "facts" to support your own misinformed agenda!

      July 7, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. MichelleG

    Nancy Grace is an not an asset to CNN. I cannot stand it when callers have to brown nose about how "cute" Nancy's children are. Who cares? Are callers told to praise her children by some frightened intern? It's pointless and a waste of time. She screams and interrupts her guests.

    CNN please replace Nancy Grace with a different show. How about a real journalist from 60 minutes or someone from the BBC? CNN, why, oh why didn't you employ Scott Pelley? How about Richard Quest? I am going to start campaigning for advertisers to longer sponsor her show

    Maybe Nancy is secretly employed by Ruport Murdoch, because she is doing a great job turning CNN viewers away.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichelleG

      ...to no longer...

      July 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jo Anne Mathews

      Are you serious? I think every mom likes to hear how beautiful her children are.It is a shame that you can not see it that way.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • MichelleG

      ...and it's important for viewers to hear because....?

      July 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hellolaw

    There was no evidence. You can't convict someone and send them to death based on a feeling. Casey probably did do it or at the minimum she was involved with it. Unfortunately the prosecutors were either terrible at laying out their evidence or, what it looks like, they just had no evidence. A smelly trunk and the fact that she was a terrible mother aren't proof that she killed.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Det

    Nancy Grace should be fired for her disgusting actions in this case. I do not care if she is guilty or innocent as it is the reporting I am upset at. Thank god I live in Canada where we do not glorify trials for tv ratings. Most of the world does this to allow a fair process. So much for American justice. Nancy grace is unethical and really a has been lawyer or a never was. Hln should do what is right and cancel her. Put her out to pasture. I think she was guilty but my only perspective is the media reports not what actually happened in the court. This is not about the trial it is about Nancy grace being the new jerry springer. Making up her own stories for ratings

    July 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. HDR

    Can anyone tell me why Caylee's father or the fathers family has not been mentioned at all throughout the whole process? I haven't heard of one person from that side of the family who has been interviewed, questioned or even a part of the search party.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. EdNv

    Please send this hasbeen attorney to FOX where they breed ignoramuses..
    For her to attack and label the jurors is unforgivable.
    I certainly pray that all DA's don't feel this contempt for us citizens!

    July 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jo Anne Mathews

    Nancy, One question for you. When casey Anthony writes a book, will we need to look in the fiction or the non-fiction section?

    July 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Vic

    Nancy (dis)Grace is the main reason that there will be no justice for Caylee. All the hype created by this so-called legal pundit gave Casey Anthony access to a legal team should could not possibly have afforded otherwise and resulted in pressure on the prosecutors to over-charge her for a crime which, although she may have commited, they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt. CNN knows this and is now in damage control mode. Nancy (dis)Grace has lost all credibility. CNN had better wise up before they do the same.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michael Tripp

    Why don't we make Nancy Grace the "Official Kangaroo Court of America" !!! She seems to know all. Imagine all the money that could be saved by having her see and hear all the litigation going on in this country. She has been a prosecutor. I have managed a restaurant. Does that mean I know how to run every restaurant in America? Give me a break Nancy !!! Get off your high horse and stop taking advantage of all the damaged goods out there. You are not doing any healing.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. A Father and Citizen

    Nancy Grace should be fired. She is a horrible commentator, she has incited the people with her severely slanted views and is just not a good person. She took an oath when she became a lawyer and to know talk about our system and how it didn't work. She is causing even more hatred and distrust of our judicial system. And she got it wrong. She is rude and distrustful herself. I have been ashamed of the reporting of HLN since this trial started but the last few days have pushed it over the line. You are suppose to report the news, hence Headline News! Where is the news? I don't want your uninformed opinion that your are paid for!

    July 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
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