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CNN’s Nancy Grace settles wrongful death lawsuit with Melinda Duckett

Melinda Duckett. CREDIT: AP

Melinda Duckett. CREDIT: AP

Melinda Duckett’s family has voluntarily dismissed a federal suit against CNN and Nancy Grace accusing them of contributing to Duckett’s suicide in 2006 following aggressive questioning by Grace.

In return, CNN has agreed to create a $200,000 trust to help locating Duckett’s missing toddler Trenton, who disappeared four years ago at the age of two. If Trenton is found before the age of 13, he will be able to get the remaining proceeds from the trust at the age of 18. To date, he has not been found.

According to the Ocala Fla., newspaper:

The settlement, which still must be approved by a federal judge in Ocala, was outlined in a joint petition filed with the court Friday, a month before the start of a scheduled jury trial.

The funds, according to the agreement, will be immediately transferred to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children if Trenton is not found by his 13th birthday, or if he is found but is not alive.

Here’s part of the written apology by the Ducketts:

The parties have resolved their differences and dismissal papers were filed with the federal court in Ocala Florida. After four years of litigation and
extensive discovery, the parties now agree that Nancy Grace, the producers of her program, and CNN engaged in no intentional wrongdoing in the course of dedicating a program to finding the missing toddler, as alleged in the lawsuit. Throughout the entirety of the litigation process all parties to the action acted in good faith and in the best interests of their clients. An apology has been extended to CNN and Nancy Grace to the extent that any suggestion has been made that anyone deliberately caused the family distress or Melinda Duckett’s suicide.

Grace at the time regarded Duckett with suspicion.

“Where were you?” she asked on her show. “Why aren’t you telling us where you were that day?”

Duckett the next day took a shotgun and killed herself.

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72 comments Add your comment


November 8th, 2010
7:03 pm

Gimme a break — CNN (and Nancy Grace specifically) did not ‘act in good faith.’ Nancy Grace was trying to play ‘gotcha!’ with someone who should not have been put in that situation and it was not known how that person would react in such a situation.

I think Nancy Grace should be told she cannot be on TV anymore under any circumstance whatsoever.

Kevin O'Connell

November 8th, 2010
10:06 pm

I sure wouldn’t miss Nasty Nancy because if I happen to tune in or see her name, I get away from her as quickly as possible. She has about as much talent as a TV interviewer/journalist as my kitty cat. Which is none.

Keith's Mama

November 9th, 2010
12:23 am

Grace is a total phony. Her heart-rending tragedy, her perfect record as a prosecutor: all exaggerated.

She’s as loathsome as Sarah Palin.

Enough Said

November 9th, 2010
12:30 am

Nancy Grace was simply asking a very realistic question. She is no more responsible for the mother’s death than any of the official investigators who asked the very same question.

Neal Borscht

November 9th, 2010
12:44 am

Bush League. All puns intended.

And if you think she’s upsetting, wait’ll you find out Judge Judy made $28M last year.


November 9th, 2010
12:46 am

I believe Nancy Grace should be removed from her position at HLN. Just
watching her doing her so-called interview with the young mother Melinda Duckett stressed me out… I can imagine what it did to Ms. Duckett. I
believe NG was trying to get a confession from her on national tv to make “herself” look like a hero. So much for the Nancy Grace show, I won’t be watching her berate other people, including the professional attorneys that are invited guests on the show. “Let’s un-leash the lawyers”… tackless!


November 9th, 2010
12:47 am

Sorry but Nancy Grace was not that great of a prosecutor. In fact it was her behavior which resulted in a possibly innocent man, Hasting?, being sentenced to jail and later released. I do not like her style because she ses hype to present a serious of questionable infornation as facts. She screams to much and talks to badly about others without seeing her short comings. And by the way, no matter how she tries to spin it she is still an unwed mother.


November 9th, 2010
1:06 am

I stopped watching HLN because of Nancy. She has NO credibility and tends to incite differences rather than heal them. Until she goes…I will watch ANYTHING else. Never her…


November 9th, 2010
2:01 am

Dang I thought I was the only person that felt this way about Nancy Grace. She is really annoying. She really seem more like a Fox News person. She over talk everybody and damn i love kids but I am so tired of her talking about those kids of hers.

Bob V

November 9th, 2010
3:29 am

Nancy Grace certainly cured me of watching HLN. Every word that sneers from her mouth is painful to hear.

Tovah G

November 9th, 2010
5:03 am

Hey, she’s a good interviewer because she asks the same questions her audience would ask. How on earth was she out of line in asking the woman where she was when her child went missing? That’s the first thing I wondered.


November 9th, 2010
5:35 am

Because Nancy has been on for a while, I thought I was the only one who couldn’t stand that shrewish harridan.


November 9th, 2010
6:13 am

While Nancy Grace is hardcore, I do love her show. But the question still remains, where is the child? That has not been answered and the mother committing suicide just made her look even more guilty. Instead of taking her life she should of been in the fight to help find her child. Its sad.


November 9th, 2010
6:16 am

Whether you like Nancy Grace or not…..she is not responsible for the death of Melinda Duckett.

Jack A-S-S

November 9th, 2010
6:35 am

NG is a world class redneck jerk posing as a worldly lawyer crusading for justice. She is a jack A-S-S even to her guests who are invited to comment or give info, especially if they dare disagree with Queen Nancy.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

November 9th, 2010
6:38 am

Nancy Grace is so shrill that she makes you root for the criminals. I can’t stand her.


November 9th, 2010
6:40 am

i just want to know what kind of drugs are she on, and where can i get some, she seem’s to be on something really,really good to make you act that way….


November 9th, 2010
6:50 am

Nancy Grace is about the only interviewer with the tenacity and courage to ask the necessary questions. Melinda Duckett died because she chose to…NO connection to Nancy’s questions.


November 9th, 2010
6:55 am

I agree with the most everyone here. How is the person(Nancy Grace) still on? She may ask the right questions but it’s the way she goes about it. She intentionally tries to bully the people she has on with all kinds of theatrics. If I see her name associated with an upcoming show I move right on to the next channel. I too have cut down on my viewing of HLN due in part to her.

Rancid Meat

November 9th, 2010
7:00 am

I can’t stand Nancy Grace but there is no way she is at all responsible for what this lady did to herself. No way at all!

Dacula Vinni

November 9th, 2010
7:36 am

…that stupid accent coupled with her arrogance…she’s one of the many reasons TV sucks. Long live Netflix, card games, long walks, etchings….


November 9th, 2010
7:38 am

Don’t forget that she’s from Rocky Creek Rd. Nuff said!


November 9th, 2010
7:38 am

Melinda Duckett was an adult and she CHOSE to appear on the NG show and then she CHOSE to end her life with a shotgun. I’m not a NG fan but she bears no blame here – and the paltry $200K settlement proves that.


November 9th, 2010
7:39 am

It is beyond me how Nancy even gets any guests to appear on her show–If they have a different opinon than her she belittles them–she is just rude and feels she is always right–with her you don’t need a judge or jury–she does it all.


November 9th, 2010
7:54 am

I hate what NG did to Melinda Duckett the young mother. How she berated her on national tv……..spinning for ratings. Demanding, pounding her desk.
What a hateful, spiteful woman… with 2 shows to spit out anger and
hate on the airways. Her producers go along with her, egging her on and
joining in.


November 9th, 2010
7:58 am

@dmsr the settlement only shows the power of the what a $4500 hr lawyer can get vs $250 hr lawyer.

Could this family really go toe to toe against the big corrporate machine of CNN and unlimited funds. After 4 yrs I am sure the Ducketts family was exhausted – financially and mentally.

NG was Pitbull w/Lipstick during this badgering of MD and she hasnt changed, which makes her an OLD Pitbull w/more lipstck.


November 9th, 2010
8:00 am

R.I.P. Melissa Duckett


November 9th, 2010
8:01 am

oops R.I.P. Melinda Duckett

(no CNN producer to fact check me) sorry!


November 9th, 2010
8:02 am

Justine 12:47, The innocent man you mention is named Wayne Carr and his wife died in a house fire. The sticky part for Carr was that his wife was taking half his money in a divorce and she seemed to have been hit with a hammer in the head. He also removed several items from the home before the fire.


November 9th, 2010
8:04 am

These days, over the top hateful personalities get better ratings and make money. You gotta put some blame on the people who watch this stuff and maintain the ratings. If CNN makes money, they keep the cash cow on the air. If you don’t have the ratings, your off the air. And the shame is, this stuff is really entertainment for people. It’s scary.


November 9th, 2010
8:16 am

Keep up the great interviews Nancy. You are a great personality, and we all really want to know “where were you that day.” Nothing wrong with that question.. I enjoy your show.


November 9th, 2010
8:21 am

That is tremendously tragic. My condolences continue to be with that family and my heart and prayers go out to that adorable little baby that is missing. I pray she is returned safe and sound and soon. I despise Nancy Grace. Her last name does not suit the heartless person that she is. I could never stand her.

lil john

November 9th, 2010
8:32 am

she make me sick just like pelosi

Get it straight

November 9th, 2010
8:37 am

The Hasting case was overturned on appeal based on judicial determination that the prosecutor (Nancy Grace) crossed the line in the gathering of evidence used in the prosecution of Wayne Carr.


November 9th, 2010
8:39 am

I think Nancy Grace is disgusting. She is no different that people like Bill O’Reiley that go way over the top and get overly dramatic to keep people talking about her and the show. She is as disgusting as Dr. Laura. Nancy should not judge someone and push as hard as she did in her line of questioning before she had all the facts. She over talks everyone and never lets people argue their case. Lastly Nancy your hair cut looks like someone put a helmet over your head, get a real haircut.


November 9th, 2010
8:45 am

you are kidding right!! Nancy Grace asks very hard questions! A baby was missing – the mother knew where that baby was!! Good for Nancy Grace and CNN!! Someone needs to ask the hard questions. If you don’t want to have hard questions asked – don’t go on her show!!
That mother killed herself because she knew exactly what she did with her baby!!


November 9th, 2010
8:52 am

Nancy Grace clearly has some serious issues. Therapy or pharmaceuticals would likely help her a great deal.


November 9th, 2010
8:56 am

Come on people, “GIVE NANCY GRACE A BREAK”!!. She’s a good & tough Lawyer whom I’ll hire in heart beat. So, she’s sometimes, harsh, strick, gets right to the point… what lawyer isn’t. If you want the truth to be told, then tell it, that’s what I say !! “Power To The People”, You Go, NANCY !! Keep on doing what you’re doing.


November 9th, 2010
8:57 am

Nancy Grace is a scum bag, plain and simple.


November 9th, 2010
8:59 am

@Bailey. Ditto……..

She killed her child and she killed herself. End of story. No need for any trust fund. save that money for his funeral…………………when and if his body is ever found.

Harry Callahan

November 9th, 2010
9:02 am

Enter your comments here

Harry Callahan

November 9th, 2010
9:04 am

Keith’s Mama

November 9th, 2010
12:23 am

“Grace is a total phony. Her heart-rending tragedy, her perfect record as a prosecutor: all exaggerated.

She’s as loathsome as Sarah Palin.”

What did Sarah Palin do that was “loathsome” again? Oh wait, I remember now…she had the nerve to oppose Barack Obama’s massive government takeover of all our lives. Which, based on last Tuesday, it seems most Americans are opposed to.

Keith’s Mama = crack ho


November 9th, 2010
9:32 am

I know Nancy Grace. She is a kind persson who continues to be appalled by some in society. Someone needs to ask some serious questions.


November 9th, 2010
9:35 am

NancyGrace is a _ _ _ _ _!


November 9th, 2010
9:43 am

It’s tragic that Ms. Duckett took her own life, but how is that the responsibility of an interviewer who merely asked for the truth?


November 9th, 2010
9:46 am

While everybody watched NG call Gary Condit a murderer, the real killer was cooling his heels on the other side of the country. She hasn’t apologized for that one either.

Danny J.

November 9th, 2010
9:51 am

Nancy Grace is one of the most disrespectful legal reporters of all time. This is amplified by her history of being a trial attorney who ought to behave better.


November 9th, 2010
9:53 am

NG is the reason that I stopped watching CNN a long time ago. Just the sight of her ugly mug is enough to anger me a little. There is no excuse for her constant belittling of everyone.

Channel-flipping viewer

November 9th, 2010
9:58 am

How is it that a woman disciplined by the Georgia high court for prosecutorial misconduct is held in such high regard that she has her own TV show? And how much are her lawyer-guests paid to subject themselves to her ridicule?


November 9th, 2010
10:04 am

Nothing Nancy Grace or anyone else could have said would have made Melinda Duckett kill herself. She killed herself for some of the same reasons that led her to a very unstable life (a la Casey Anthony) – she was deeply troubled at best bc she was negligent with her son and being shown for that by her own lies, actions and words, Melinda’s narcissism could not take this, or at worst, she killed this child or sold him. While I disagree that Nancy Grace did anything wrong whether I agree with her views, methods or like her or watch her show, the settlement works bc this child, unfortunately, will never be found. The money will then be forwarded as a resource that has the best interests of missing children. I am sure the police treated Mark Klass (father of Polly Klass) much worse with accusations of murdering his child than Nancy treated Melinda Duckett who agreed to go on Nancy’s show. Mark Klass didn’t kill himself, had nothing to do with his daughter’s murder and fights today on behalf of missing children.