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. tarl

    "I’m not in the business of forgiving. " – well that say's it all about her doesn't it? I cannot stand this woman – loud mouth, back seat quarterback lawyer. Since like to spout off so much about cases in general – I suggest she quits TV and get herself back into a courtroom instead of spouting off about cases that she doesn't have ALL of the information about Wonder how that lawsuit is going for ya? CNN you are a disgrace to have this person on TV – can you really imagine 20 years ago trying to pull this off? NO way! She would be FIRED asap – but now you guys a letting some sensationalist TV hack who USED to be a lawyer in practice act like the turds she spouts out of her gob!

    July 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Peter Murdoch

    Nancy believes in free speech AS LONG AS YOU AGREE with her - if you don't then you are illogical. Nancy Grace like God now.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slooptb

      BOMBHELL buy news corp. earnings projected to rise on the actions of a irresponsible news anchor

      July 7, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bill

    Nancy Grace is just a bitter, bitter woman. This is why a trial by jury is needed in this country. Would you want your fate in this womans hands who clearly believes in guilty even if proven innocent?

    What is she even doing on CNN. The kind of venom she has for peoples blood would best be served on Fox.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • mesa

      I watch Fox sometimes... I don't want to see her on anything!!!!!

      July 6, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • tarl

      Wow. They removed my comment – so I'll tack onto yours and just say I fully agree with you Bill..a bitter..bitter woman.

      July 7, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • MicahS13

      @tarl – so much for freedom of speech

      July 7, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. TC

    How dare she criticize the jury for their mistakes in life??? Seriously, throw some stones at your own dang life in your glass house! People make mistakes and saying someone with a few misdeamors shouldn't have been on the jury is insane!! Maybe Nancy is some crazed robot because she's sure not human!

    July 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Giannis Lambadarios

    Yeah, Let's keep putting criminals, and retards on juries.."justice" the American way...

    July 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. My Opinion

    Nancy: What I really wish is that you, and others, would really put out the "back story" behind this case. It is starting to trickle out but here is what I would like to know: how dysfunctional was this family (cite some specific examples–the trial is over–no reason to hold back), how lacking as a parent was Casey–we know that she really didn't provide for Caylee–her parents did. Nancy, I think that you are the one person with enough spine to really let the truth out. Justice has been denied.....but the truth should not be silenced. This jury was completely wrong when they stated that there was not enough evidence. There WAS enough evidence....they just chose not to see it. Shame on them, too.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hello111

    This is AMERICA. We are INNOCENT until proven GUILTY. Casey Anthony has been proven NOT GUILTY. Nancy Grace and her blind followers have no right to ruin this young woman's life based on their own beliefs!!!

    July 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Scott

    I wonder how many people would "love" her and keep watching if they knew what she did as a lawyer, and how unethical she really is? How CNN can keep this piece of trash on the air is beyond me.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Madcow774

    Nancy Grace looks like an elderly Big Bird that smells like dirty adult diapers & vitamins.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mary

    Nancy probably know the "truth" about "tot mom" because they are so much alike. Nancy makes these really troll-like interview connents cause she wants the sorry saga to go on – now what will Nancy start schreeching about to keep her ratings up now? Nancy is attention seeking narcasstic and selfish. Sound like Tot mom???

    July 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jynxx

    You don't have to agree with the verdict as that is your right, but it would be nice for a change if you let the judicial system work without doing your best to undermmine the rule of law by biasing everyone you can against the first person that the police label a person of interest which is a stupid thing for them to do in any case, if the person is a suspect that is one thing but labeling a person a person of interest is wrong and can lead to ruining lives. A good part of the failure of this case is your self serving media showcasing of the trial. Leave the trial to the judicial system and if you need to be involved go back to work as a prosecutor if anyone would be stupid enough to put you back in that position. And the first amendment does give you the right to speak your mind as long as it does not infringe upon the rights liberties or freedoms of others which is a very fine line you walk and usually step over using that as your out every time. One suicide due to your showmanship and grandstanding not enough?

    July 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pam

    Be Serious. Made millions???? Who cares??? They didn't kill an innocent, helpless little girl whose body was left to rot on the side of the road. These jurors were not smart. They were ready to go home and chose the easiest, fastest way to get there- NOT GUILTY!!!

    July 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Karen

    From my Canadian point of view, I have been following Nancy throughout this entire case. I agree totally, but was worried that because there was no evidence of abuse going for the death penalty and manslaughter that the jury would feel that if they could not find her guilty of count one that would cancel out the others. If they had gone after her with unintentional manslaughter because she overdosed her daughter so she could party and keep her from her own mom, the jury could see that in their minds. But this is only my opinion.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Peter Murdoch

    If Nancy Grace really wants to help like she claims why doesn't she go back and try cases. Well 1) she is a lousy lawyer and 2) not enough money in helping people. Nancy = hypocrite. Anyone can be on TV Nancy but not anyone can be a lawyer go and do some lawyering and really help people!

    July 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ron

    Nancy Grace is unprofessional!!!!
    Shame on CNN!!!!
    While I do not have to agree with the verdict I feel the jury deserves some degree of respect.
    Obviously, Nancy Grace knows all!!!
    Nancy please get ahold of yourself!

    July 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
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