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Family sues CNN's Nancy Grace after 'heated debate'

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The family of a woman who committed suicide recently after appearing on CNN Headline News Nancy Grace's self titled show said Tuesday that they will be taking her to court.

Melinda Duckett, the mother of an infant son, Trenton Duckett, reported him missing on August 27, and fatally shot herself in her grandparents' retirement home on September 8. Shortly before her death, she had appeared on Grace's show, where she engaged in debate with the former Georgia prosecutor regarding her perceived lack of transparency regarding the disappearance. A suicide note was later found at the scene. The case made national headlines after her appearance.

"Nancy Grace and the others, they just bashed her to the end," said Duckett's grandfather, Bill Eubanks, during an interview with The Orlando Sentinel. "She wasn't one anyone ever would have thought of to do something like this. She and that baby just loved each other, couldn't get away from each other. She wouldn't hurt a bug."

Grace's spokeswoman called the suicide "a sad development," and Grace herself issued a statement saying, "I do not feel that our show is to blame for what happened to Melinda Duckett."

"The truth," said Grace, "is not always nice or polite or easy to go down. Sometimes it's harsh, and it hurts."

However,, a true crime website run by Court TV (where Grace also hosts a show), revealed pending litigation by the family on the behalf of Melinda Duckett's estate. Duckett's family is issuing a wrongful death claim against both CNN and Nancy Grace.

After the murder of Grace's fiancee in 1979, she became a prosecutor in her native Georgia and later hosted her own show on Court TV, followed later by her CNN tenure. Grace, however, has been criticized for her sense of ethics and allegedly playing fast and loose with the facts, both in the courtroom and on the air.

Grace's heated interview, however, was not without proper motive. The police had long suspected Melinda Duckett of involvement in her son's disappearance, due to her behavior and contradictory statements. After Duckett's suicide, police named her as a prime suspect in her son's disappearance. Recently, they have announced that they have reason to believe that Trenton Duckett is still alive.