OCALA, Fla. – Lawyers for CNN and Nancy Grace have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought against them by the family of a woman who killed herself after appearing on the TV host's show.
The defendants said the lawsuit brought by Melinda Duckett's family would "severely chill" journalists' coverage of missing person cases. In federal court documents filed Friday in Florida's Middle District, CNN also asks for a hearing with oral arguments on the motion.
"The law does not permit people to recover money from reporters who ask routine questions while covering ongoing stories of national significance to the public," lawyer Judith Mercier wrote.
Kara Skorupa, a lawyer for Duckett's estate, said a response would be filed by next week.
Duckett, 21, was on Grace's show a year ago after her son Trenton went missing from her apartment. Grace grilled the woman, accusing her of hiding something because Duckett did not take a lie-detector test and answered vaguely regarding her whereabouts.
Police later named Duckett the prime suspect in the boy's disappearance.
The lawsuit blames Grace for severe emotional distress that led to Duckett's suicide. She shot and killed herself the day the taped interview was scheduled to broadcast.
Trenton, who would turn 3 on Friday, has not been found.