TV's Nancy Grace Settles Suit with Suicide Mom

21-year-old shot herself after badgering by CNN host

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, Nov 9, 2010  |  Updated 9:45 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON - JULY 26: Court-TV and CNN personality Nancy Grace speaks during a rally in support of the Children's Safety Act (H.R.3132) July 26, 2005 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Grace said that when announcing stories about abducted children that she weeps during the commercial breaks. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Nancy Grace, the tough-talking ex-prosecutor whose TV show airs on CNN Headline News, has settled with the estate of a woman who killed herself after being grilled by Grace following the disappearance of her two-year-old son.

The parents and estate of Melinda Duckett, who was 21 when her little boy went missing, dismissed their lawsuit  after Grace agreed to pay $200,000 to a trust for the boy. If the boy is not found, the money will be transferred to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Grace and her producers noted the deal included no admission of wrongdoing.

The lawsuit accused Grace of inflicting emotional distress on Duckett when she accused the woman of hiding something because Duckett did not take a lie-detector test and answered vaguely about her whereabouts when little Trenton Duckett disappeared from her apartment.

"To suggest a 15 to 20-minute interview caused someone to commit suicide, I feel, is focusing on the wrong thing," Grace said on "Good Morning America" the day after Duckett's death.

Police later named Duckett the prime suspect in the boy's disappearance. Duckett shot herself the day the taped interview was scheduled to broadcast — Sept. 8, 2006. Duckett had reported the boy missing less than two weeks earlier.

"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," Jay Paul Deratany, a lawyer representing Duckett's family and estate, said in a statement.

Selected Reading: The Associated Press, CNN, WDBO.

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