After a brief hiatus, famed legal commentator Nancy Grace returned to television screens last month with fellow legal analyst Dan Abrams for Grace vs. Abrams, a new show on A&E where the pair debate legal cases and timely crimes. Grace also hosts Crime Stories with Nancy Grace on XM Radio's Triumph station.
In advance of her visit to Chicago, Grace took time for a phone interview with JUF News.
JUF News: What's different about hosting this show with Dan Abrams as opposed to when you've been the sole host in the past?
It's really two world views on the justice system and particular cases. It's very exciting. Dan and I have known each other a very long time. It goes back to when I was prosecuting felonies in Atlanta. I ended up on this panel sitting between Johnny Cochran and Roy Black, and of course they got in a big fight. I remember Dan Abrams fighting with Johnny Cochran. We've [also] worked together on Good Morning America.
Your work centers around crime cases, which means your days are filled with a lot of talk of death and tragedy. Do you "take your work home with you" or are you able to leave the thoughts of crime at the job?
The answer is both. I knew better than to ever break down and cry in front of a jury. Any display of emotion can be misconstrued. I remember leaving the courthouse and I'd be alone in my car driving away, and I'd have to pull over on the side of the road and just cry and cry and cry over what I saw happen to people and the cruelty in the world. It really tore me apart.
…It wasn't jubilation at the end of a case, it wasn't celebration. It was relief. The guy is behind bars and can't hurt anyone for a while. Onto the next.
What makes you dedicate your life to uncovering these crimes?
The murder of my fiancé. I was in school, studying to become a literature professor. I dropped out of school. I couldn't eat. I was wasting away. I decided I wanted to become a prosecutor and help other crime victims [because] I believe one person can make a difference.
You've covered a lot of high profile cases like Elizabeth Smart and Caylee Anthony. Which one has had the most profound effect on you?
That's like picking which child I love most -- there's no true answer. Every victim has affected me in a different way. It pains me to see the way victims are treated. There are cases that are more famous than other cases, but that doesn't mean they're more important or impacted me less than cases no one has ever heard of.
The Jewish United Fund's Trades, Industries, and Professions Annual Dinners run Thursday, May 10, to Tuesday, June 5, all held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Here are the sequence of speakers and dinners:
Thursday, May 10
Medical Professionals and Educators Dinner
Featuring: Col. (Res.) Dr. Ofer Merin, commander of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Mobile Field Hospital and director of the Trauma Unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Thursday, May 31
Financial Services, Real Estate, High Tech, Marketing, and Media Dinner
Featuring: Magic Johnson, basketball legend, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
Tuesday, June 5
Lawyers, Government Officials, Foods, Hospitality, Wholesalers, Retailers, and Manufacturers
Featuring: Dan Abrams & Nancy Grace. The new A&E show Grace vs. Abrams features Abrams, legal analyst, attorney, and author; and Grace, legal analyst, former prosecutor, and victims' advocate.
There is no charge to attend these events. Thanks to the generous support of our Corporate Partners, every dollar raised will go directly to JUF programs and services. All guests are encouraged to make a gift to the 2018 JUF Annual Campaign. For more information, contact JUFTIP@juf.org. To register, visit juf.org/TipDinners.