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Nancy Grace Defends Her Casey Anthony Coverage, Hits Back at Critics

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: It was very personal between HLN anchor Nancy Grace and Casey Anthony, charged with killing her 2-year- old daughter, Caylee. As you know, Casey Anthony was acquitted on those murder charges. But the mainstream media has condemned Ms. Grace's coverage because of her extreme passion in the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: A not guilty verdict on all major counts in the tot mom Casey Anthony murder trial. The defense team promptly leaves the courthouse and goes to toast champagne in front of a window at a local bar. Let me just say the devil is dancing tonight.

Tot mom in court today with a new carefree and casual look. Hey, no need to dress like a librarian now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: With us now from Atlanta is Nancy Grace. First of all, do you think you went overboard at all on your coverage of the trial?

GRACE: You know, Bill, No. 1, thank you for having me, but overboard? When there is a miscarriage of justice? No. I don't think I went overboard, and, in fact, I think that term overboard is very trite. What I think went wrong is not me commenting or covering what happened in the courtroom, but what went wrong is the jury verdict. Now, listen, I respect our justice system. I have dedicated my life to our justice system since my fiancé was murdered back in 1979, sometimes working three and four jobs at a time so I could seek justice in the courtroom as a prosecutor. What is overboard is the jury verdict.

O'REILLY: OK. But you have to admit that the way you presented the material throughout the trial was flamboyant. You nicknamed Casey Anthony "Tot Mom." What does tot mom mean anyway? What is that?

GRACE: Well, you know what? To you, I will finally reveal where "tot mom" came from. When I was in law school I would often give cases that I had to memorize hundreds and hundreds, sometimes thousands of pages of legal documents for class, and it was easier for me to remember a case by the content of the case not the name Smith vs. O'Shaughnessy. So I would name each case by the content. In this case, I needed content that would fit at the bottom of the screen so our viewer would know what we were talking about and "tot mom" fit.

O'REILLY: All right. So it was just…

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: But it did sound like a denigration.

GRACE: Yes. It's nothing personal.

O'REILLY: No, but it did sound like a denigration.

GRACE: No, it does not sound like a denigration.

O'REILLY: Oh, sure it did.

GRACE: No, it doesn't.

O'REILLY: Tot mom is…

GRACE: I don't think it did. Better to be cold-blooded killer? Would that be better? It's tot mom.

O'REILLY: I think the fair way to do this interview is that the people who watched your coverage of the trial certainly can make up their own mind whether you were fair, unfair or what you brought to the trial. I don't have to define it for them.

The more interesting question is why the media attack -- is attacking you so vehemently. Steven Brill, who founded CourtTV and I guess hired you at one point, calls you a "monster." The TIME magazine television writer Poniewozik calls you "immoral." David Zurawik, a smart guy writing for the Baltimore Sun says, you know, what do you think about cable TV coverage of the trial lawyers who go on TV talking about cases which they're not involved, TV hosts like Grace who independently decide innocence and guilt and ride that phony sense of righteous of condemnation to ratings glory. So, you are getting pounded by these people. Why?

GRACE: Well, first of all, I know none of those people except for Mr. Brill, who I have a great deal to, regardless of what he may say about me now. He put me on a show with Johnnie Cochran and really started my legal career. I owe Mr. Brill nothing but thanks. As to his comments, I don't know anything about that.

O'REILLY: Well, he says she is a "monster" at CourtTV. She explains the legal process to the viewer but then injects -- he seems to object to, I think they all seem to object to that your tone of certainty. And I can identify with that because I do the exact same thing that you do. When I present, I present…

GRACE: Well, I am certain.

O'REILLY: Yes -- there you go. See now, I think she is guilty. I'm 99 percent that Casey Anthony is guilty. But you're 100 percent and no doubt ever in your whole presentation, correct?

GRACE: Well, if you take a look at the facts. I really don't see a need, Bill, to sugar coat the truth. Yes, it may be easier to pretend this was an accidental drowning of little Caylee, a 2-year-old little girl. But the facts simply do not justify that. The whole defense theory is nonsensical.

O'REILLY: I agree, and I said that on this program. I couldn't agree with you more. There was not one shred of evidence to show there was accident or an alternative to the murder of the duct tape and this woman was in charge of the 2-year-old. But again, I'm going to go back. You must have some thought in your mind. When I'm attacked -- and I am routinely -- I always know or think I know the motive of the attacker. What are the motives of these people? Why are they after you?

GRACE: Well, I do believe that some, for instance, TV pundits may attack me because they actually want tot mom's interview or they want the big get. So therefore attacking me may help them do that, put them in good with the defense.

O'REILLY: Yes, but these guys -- Brill and Poniewozik and Zurawik, they have no axe to grind.

GRACE: That's why I just said the on-air TV pundits. The good thing for me is I don't care if I get an interview. I don't want tot mom's interview. I don't care about that.

O'REILLY: Does this bother you, this stuff? Does it bother you Brill called you a "monster" and the other guy says you are "immoral"? Does that bother you?

GRACE: You know, if I listened to it and paid attention to it, of course it would be hurtful. But the reality is it doesn't change the truth, and I am here to tell the truth and have been trying to do that since 1979. So regardless of what some newspaper writer says in Peoria or what some Park Avenue lawyer says on a national TV show in the morning, I don't care what they say. I know what happened in court. There is only two alternatives: that this was intentional murder of a little girl or a felony, chloroforming the child, and she ended up dying. Those are the only two choices. And that's a felony murder. And that is the truth.

O'REILLY: All right. Nancy, we appreciate you stepping up. Thanks very much.

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