A Florida Federal District Court judge recently refused to dismiss the lawsuit that accuses CNN’s Nancy Grace of driving a young woman to commit suicide. The lawsuit, filed by the parents of Melinda Duckett, arises out of an appearance Ms. Duckett made on The Nancy Grace Show shortly after Duckett’s son, Trenton, went missing in August of 2006. The Ducketts contend in their lawsuit that Grace lured their daughter onto the show under false pretenses, by suggesting that an appearance on the show could help locate her son.
On the show however, Ms. Grace, a former prosecutor, allegedly accused Ms. Duckett of hiding something, and asked pointed questions about why Duckett had refused a lie detector test. Ms. Grace also pointed out that several of Ms. Duckett’s answers were not particularly specific. Bethann Eubank, the mother of Melinda Duckett, has indicated that after the appearance, her daughter was very distraught, and ultimately shot herself, shortly before the pre-recorded show aired.
CNN and Grace had moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that permitting it to go forward would “chill” coverage of missing persons cases. Judge William Terrell Hodges disagreed however, and refused to dismiss the case. Nancy Grace spokesperson Janine Iamunno recently commented that “This is only a procedural ruling about whether the case should be allowed to go forward. It does not mean that the claims are likely to succeed”.
To date, Trenton has not been found.