13 episodes

Believe Her is true crime, upside down. In September 2017, young mom Nikki Addimando shot and killed her partner, Chris Grover. She was sentenced to nineteen years to life in prison for murder. Through rare access to police audio, a month-long trial, conversations with Nikki, and original reporting, journalist Justine van der Leun lays out the killing, the evidence, and the aftermath. As this six-part series unfolds, listeners will put together different pieces of a disturbing puzzle. One thing is clear: perception ≠ reality. Believe Her is a riveting chronicle that grapples with assumptions we make about domestic and sexual violence, the long reach of trauma, and the ways in which survival is criminalized, leaving us shocked at how far people will go to avoid seeing what's right in front of them. From Lemonada Media and Spiegel & Grau.

Believe Her Lemonada Media

    • True Crime
    • 4.5 • 981 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Believe Her is true crime, upside down. In September 2017, young mom Nikki Addimando shot and killed her partner, Chris Grover. She was sentenced to nineteen years to life in prison for murder. Through rare access to police audio, a month-long trial, conversations with Nikki, and original reporting, journalist Justine van der Leun lays out the killing, the evidence, and the aftermath. As this six-part series unfolds, listeners will put together different pieces of a disturbing puzzle. One thing is clear: perception ≠ reality. Believe Her is a riveting chronicle that grapples with assumptions we make about domestic and sexual violence, the long reach of trauma, and the ways in which survival is criminalized, leaving us shocked at how far people will go to avoid seeing what's right in front of them. From Lemonada Media and Spiegel & Grau.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    BONUS: Criminalized Survivor Sandra Brown on the Criminal Legal System

    BONUS: Criminalized Survivor Sandra Brown on the Criminal Legal System

    In this bonus interview, Justine sits down with Sandra Brown, the criminalized survivor who you heard from in Chapter 6. Sandra was recently released from prison, where she worked on rebuilding herself over the course of 21 years, and is now working toward her Ph.D. This conversation has been edited for time and clarity.

     

    Resources:
    If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
    If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
    Ask Governor Kathy Hochul to grant Nikki clemency: https://www.change.org/p/president-trump-freenikki 
    Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
    Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA. 
    Learn more about criminalized survival across the U.S. at https://survivedandpunished.org/.
    Read Justine’s Dec. 2020 article on criminalized survival in the U.S. at https://newrepublic.com/article/160589/women-prison-domestic-violence-survivors.
    Support incarcerated survivor Tanisha Williams by visiting https://standwithtanisha.com/.
    Support incarcerated survivor Tomiekia Johnson by visiting https://www.change.org/p/gavin-newsom-grant-commutation-for-incarcerated-survivor-tomiekia-johnson.
    Read Sandra Brown’s writing by visiting https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004441651/BP000023.xml.
    Learn more about incarcerated survivor Kelly Harnett’s story at https://www.survivedandpunishedny.org/kelly-harnett/.
    Follow the We Stand With Nikki campaign on Instagram at @westandwithnikki, on Twitter at @standwithnikki and on their webpage at www.westandwithnikki.com.

     

    Justine van der Leun is the host and lead reporter. This series is produced by Justine van der Leun and supervising producer Kristen Lepore. The associate producer is Giulia Hjort. The production assistant is Rory James Leech. Additional reporting by Kristen Lepore and Giulia Hjort. Mixing and sound design by Kegan Zema. Music by RRA aka Sara Abdelaal. Fact checking by Justin Kloczko. Additional audio engineering by Ivan Kuraev. Story editing by Jackie Danziger. Story consulting by Amy Metsch. The executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Spiegel & Grau.

     

    Believe Her is created in partnership with Spiegel & Grau. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @spiegelandgrau.

    Follow Justine on Twitter at @justinevdl and on Instagram at @jvanderleun.

    Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

    If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Believe Her podcast community on Bookclubz at www.bit.ly/believeherbookclubz and our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/believeher/. 

     

    Interested in bonus content and behind the scenes material? Subscribe to Lemonada Premium right now in the Apple Podcasts app by clicking on our podcast logo and the "subscribe” button.

     

    Stay up-to-date on everything in the Lemonada world by becoming a superfan at https://joinsubtext.com/lemonadasuperfan.  

    Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and all other Lemonada series: lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.

    To follow along with a transcript, go to www.lemonadamedia.com/show/believeher shortly after the air date.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 22 min
    Chapter 6: Criminalized Survival

    Chapter 6: Criminalized Survival

    In the final episode of Believe Her, Nikki reflects on the shocking outcome of her appeal and what this means for others in similar situations going forward. Justine talks to criminalized survivors across the U.S. about how and why they were incarcerated for their attempts to protect themselves or loved ones from abuse.

     

    Resources:
    For more information about Nikki’s case and to sign a petition supporting her clemency application, follow the We Stand With Nikki campaign on Instagram at @westandwithnikki, on Twitter at @standwithnikki and on their webpage at www.westandwithnikki.com.
    If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
    If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
    Ask Governor Kathy Hochul to grant Nikki clemency: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdcpFz75UUqWr5JUtd5H_CrwbGk1F0ThenVbufgdg5jJPNtxw/viewform?fbclid=IwAR0Fx-dDbJO3Wvz25kJ2q334hKffYojaIxZeFJBQRnVuWdcO1RDCGH4pDbw
    Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
    Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA. 
    Learn more about criminalized survival across the U.S. at https://survivedandpunished.org/.
    Read Justine’s Dec. 2020 article on criminalized survival in the U.S. at https://newrepublic.com/article/160589/women-prison-domestic-violence-survivors.
    Support incarcerated survivor Tanisha Williams by visiting https://standwithtanisha.com/.
    Support incarcerated survivor Tomiekia Johnson by visiting https://www.change.org/p/gavin-newsom-grant-commutation-for-incarcerated-survivor-tomiekia-johnson.
    Read Sandra Brown’s writing by visiting https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004441651/BP000023.xml.
    Learn more about incarcerated survivor Kelly Harnett’s story at https://www.survivedandpunishedny.org/kelly-harnett/.

     

    Justine van der Leun is the host and lead reporter. This series is produced by Justine van der Leun and supervising producer Kristen Lepore. The associate producer is Giulia Hjort. The production assistant is Rory James Leech. Additional reporting by Kristen Lepore and Giulia Hjort. Mixing and sound design by Kegan Zema. Music by RRA aka Sara Abdelaal. Fact checking by Justin Kloczko. Additional audio engineering by Ivan Kuraev. Story editing by Jackie Danziger. Story consulting by Amy Metsch. The executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Spiegel & Grau.

     

    Believe Her is created in partnership with Spiegel & Grau. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @spiegelandgrau.

    Follow Justine on Twitter at @justinevdl and on Instagram at @jvanderleun.

    Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

    If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Believe Her podcast community on Bookclubz at www.bit.ly/believeherbookclubz and our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/believeher/. 

     

    Interested in bonus content and behind the scenes material? Subscribe to Lemonada Premium right now in the Apple Podcasts app by clicking on our podcast logo and the "subscribe” button.

     

    Stay up-to-date on everything in the Lemonada world by becoming a superfan at https://joinsubtext.com/lemonadasuperfan.  

    Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and all other Lemonada series: lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.

    To follow along with a transcript, go to www.lemonadamedia.com/show/believeher shortly after the air date.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 41 min
    BONUS: Criminalized Survivor Monica Cosby on the Criminal Legal System

    BONUS: Criminalized Survivor Monica Cosby on the Criminal Legal System

    Host Justine van der Leun sits down with Monica Cosby, a writer, abolitionist, and criminalized survivor who spent 20 years in prison. This conversation has been edited for time and clarity.

    Chapter 5: The Missing Evidence

    Chapter 5: The Missing Evidence

    A 12-person jury convicted Nikki of murder, but they didn’t see the whole picture. Many key pieces of this puzzle didn’t make their way into the courtroom. In this episode, Justine follows up on disturbing gaps in the evidence. Through conversations with Nikki’s lawyers, digital forensic experts, Nikki’s therapists and Nikki’s children’s therapist, Justine explores what was not shown at trial. 

     

    Resources:
    If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
    If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
    Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent. 
    Learn more about criminalized survival in New York State at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
    Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA. 
    Read Justine’s May 2020 investigative piece on Nikki’s case at www.gen.medium.com/nikki-had-proof-shed-been-abused-but-was-it-enough-for-self-defense-bd9f196396eb. 
    Follow the We Stand With Nikki campaign on Instagram at @westandwithnikki, on Twitter at @standwithnikki and on their webpage at www.westandwithnikki.com.

     

    Justine van der Leun is the host and lead reporter. This series is produced by Justine van der Leun and supervising producer Kristen Lepore. The associate producer is Giulia Hjort. The production assistant is Rory James Leech. Additional reporting by Kristen Lepore and Giulia Hjort. Mixing and sound design by Kegan Zema. Music by RRA aka Sara Abdelaal. Fact checking by Justin Kloczko. Additional audio engineering by Ivan Kuraev. Story editing by Jackie Danziger. Story consulting by Amy Metsch. The executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Spiegel & Grau.

     

    Believe Her is created in partnership with Spiegel & Grau. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @spiegelandgrau.

    Follow Justine on Twitter at @justinevdl and on Instagram at @jvanderleun.

    Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

    If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Believe Her podcast community on Bookclubz at www.bit.ly/believeherbookclubz and our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/believeher/. 

     

    Interested in bonus content and behind the scenes material? Subscribe to Lemonada Premium right now in the Apple Podcasts app by clicking on our podcast logo and the "subscribe” button.

     

    Stay up-to-date on everything in the Lemonada world by becoming a superfan at https://joinsubtext.com/lemonadasuperfan.  

    Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and all other Lemonada series: lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.

    To follow along with a transcript, go to www.lemonadamedia.com/show/believeher shortly after the air date.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 49 min
    Chapter 4: Victim or Master Manipulator?

    Chapter 4: Victim or Master Manipulator?

    Is Nikki a victim or is she a master manipulator who planned and plotted Chris’ murder? This question was at the heart of Nikki’s trial. There, the defense team put forth a cache of evidence of abuse. But the prosecution suggested that Nikki wanted attention, tried to destroy her credibility and asked: if the abuse was so bad, why didn’t Nikki leave? Justine unpacks the trial, and what the verdict says about how our criminal legal system views self-defense laws when it comes to people in abusive relationships.

     

    Resources:
    If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
    If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
    Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
    Learn more about criminalized survival in New York State at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
    Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA. 
    Read Justine’s May 2020 investigative piece on Nikki’s case at www.gen.medium.com/nikki-had-proof-shed-been-abused-but-was-it-enough-for-self-defense-bd9f196396eb. 
    Follow the We Stand With Nikki campaign on Instagram at @westandwithnikki, on Twitter at @standwithnikki and on their webpage at www.westandwithnikki.com.

     

    Justine van der Leun is the host and lead reporter. This series is produced by Justine van der Leun and supervising producer Kristen Lepore. The associate producer is Giulia Hjort. The production assistant is Rory James Leech. Additional reporting by Kristen Lepore and Giulia Hjort. Mixing and sound design by Kegan Zema. Music by RRA aka Sara Abdelaal. Fact checking by Justin Kloczko. Additional audio engineering by Ivan Kuraev. Story editing by Jackie Danziger. Story consulting by Amy Metsch. The executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Spiegel & Grau.

     

    Believe Her is created in partnership with Spiegel & Grau. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @spiegelandgrau.

    Follow Justine on Twitter at @justinevdl and on Instagram at @jvanderleun.

    Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

    If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Believe Her podcast community on Bookclubz at www.bit.ly/believeherbookclubz and our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/believeher/. 

     

    Interested in bonus content and behind the scenes material? Subscribe to Lemonada Premium right now in the Apple Podcasts app by clicking on our podcast logo and the "subscribe” button.

     

    Stay up-to-date on everything in the Lemonada world by becoming a superfan at https://joinsubtext.com/lemonadasuperfan.  

    Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this and all other Lemonada series: lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.

    To follow along with a transcript, go to www.lemonadamedia.com/show/believeher shortly after the air date.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 55 min
    BONUS: We Talk to a Former Mr. Todd’s Coach about Reactions to Chris’ Death

    BONUS: We Talk to a Former Mr. Todd’s Coach about Reactions to Chris’ Death

    Producer Giulia Hjort talks with LizaBeth Madara, the former Mr. Todd’s Gymnastics coach who made the call to CPS, about the community’s response to Chris’ death. This conversation has been edited for time and clarity.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
981 Ratings

981 Ratings

believe you, i will. ,

Eye Opening / Gut Wrenching

What an incredibly well put together piece. I cannot call it a story. It is not a story, this is a real life glimpse into the judicial window. I hope all who have listened have signed the petition to get Nikki home. The children have lost so much. My praise to the supporters of their tiny lives with so much remaining potential.

Bring her home, allow them the time to build their figurative / literal mote around their lives.

sallysuebug ,

Interesting

I only mind podcasters with an opinion when they pretend not to be biased and purposefully withhold information that undermines their pov. Justine is pretty clear about her perspective and her intent from the get go. I believe that no matter how hard you try, your biases are a lens through which you analyze and synthesize any information you take in so I would rather just know someone’s intentions than have to figure out their biases throughout an entire podcast.

I hope gymnastics mom Nicole listens and realizes that she doesn’t really understand domestic violence and self harm. The hubris to think that if a man isn’t violent toward you or your daughter, then he couldn’t possibly abuse his wife is hilarious.

lmbk1111 ,

Poor job Justine

Abuse is real and pervasive. What Justine focused on is Nikki’s victimhood. It’s not anyones job to save us, but our own. A lot of us women do leave. We do figure it out. There is a third option. Justine ruined this story with her obvious and obnoxious biased perspective. She had the option to sign the papers and put her boyfriend in jail. She chose to go back to him. They weren’t even married. She was being abused by her boyfriend and chose to have a second child with him. She had a lot of choices. She is not just a victim. You can’t help someone that doesn’t want help. She’s spending her time in jail waiting. How about reading and learning about the abuse cycle? How about getting counseling? She said the counseling was “forced”. This is not a woman who takes any responsibility and wants to improve. It sounds like two sick people found each other. One was going to kill the other eventually. My guess, Nikki gets out and repeats the pattern again.

One last thing, stalking the jurors and making fun of them is so beyond inappropriate. You had my support and lost it with this terrible reporting.

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