A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit that claims CNN’s Nancy Grace pushed the mother of a missing toddler to suicide through aggressive questioning. Did Grace push Melinda Duckett to the edge?
CNN and Nancy Grace have argued the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Melinda Duckett’s family would “severely chill” journalists’ coverage of missing-persons cases. But U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges on Thursday denied their motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
If you remember, Melinda Duckett, 21, was on Nancy Grace’s show after her son Trenton went missing from her apartment in August 2006.
Nancy Grace grilled the woman, accusing her of hiding something because Duckett did not take a lie-detector test and answered vaguely regarding her whereabouts when the child went missing.
Melinda Duckett committed suicide by shooting herself, before the network aired the pre-taped interview.
The Duckett family claims Grace’s intense questioning caused severe emotional distress that led to the suicide.
The lawsuit also claims that the decision to air the interview after her suicide caused the family to suffer severe emotional distress and media and public harassment. They are seeking a jury trial, unspecified damages more than $15,000 and punitive damages.
Duckett family attorney Jay Paul Deratany said attorneys will begin taking testimony.
“There is more information out there to be gleaned,” said Deratany. “If Melinda had any information, Nancy Grace stopped the investigation in its track.”
Police have said Duckett is the only suspect in her son’s disappearance.
Melinda Duckett was said to have racy naked photos and videos, which police found. Police wondered if Melinda was selling the pornographic tapes out of her home. In one video, you can see Melinda Duckett straddling a crib and a baby crying in the background.
Nancy Grace and CNN have not commented.
Just days ago, the father of the missing boy was arrested Thursday on minor drug and driving charges in Sumter County.
Sumter County jail officials said Duckett, of Bushnell, was booked into jail about 4:05 p.m. on charges he was knowingly driving with a suspended or revoked license and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was released about 6 p.m. on $1,000 bail.
Duckett has been consistently active in the search for his son. He’s made his voice heard and presence known during the recent search for Caylee Anthony.
Such a tragic story, but do you think Nancy Grace is responsible for Melinda Duckett’s suicide?