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

    • True Crime
    • 4.6 • 1.4K 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

    Chapter 1: Chris is Dead

    Chapter 1: Chris is Dead

    In September 2017, Nikki Addimando, a young mom of two, shot her partner of nine years, Chris Grover. Nikki was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for murder but she claims she was acting in self-defense. In this first episode, journalist Justine van der Leun takes us on a journey that starts with the night of the killing and ends at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in upstate New York. 

     

    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.

    • 47 min
    Chapter 2: Deep Dark Secrets

    Chapter 2: Deep Dark Secrets

    Let’s go back to when Nikki and Chris first met at Mr. Todd’s Gymnastics Studio. Justine takes us to Poughkeepsie, New York to talk to the people who were closest to both Nikki and Chris to try to find out how their seemingly loving relationship spiraled into years of abuse and, ultimately, Chris’ death.

     

    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.

    • 50 min
    Chapter 3: The Silencing

    Chapter 3: The Silencing

    Nikki was abused, doubted and silenced from a young age — and yet, there were still too many so-called “bad facts” that helped the prosecution build their case against her. This week, Justine talks to one of Nikki’s childhood friends about witnessing the early abuse and the cycle of trauma that followed. 

     

    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.

    • 53 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
    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 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

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1.4K Ratings

1.4K Ratings

mtorp77 ,

A voice for the abused!

This was an amazing podcast. I have never been a victim, however, I feel for women that are. I can understand how they would feel stuck and unable to leave. This was such a great way to support those girls! Thank you.

mfiano ,

My #1 podcast

Not only is this podcast extremely addicting, it’s absolutely crucial that it be heard by any and all. The host delivers this story with incredible care and commentary shedding light on one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice within our system; and the fact that it’s targeting survivors of domestic abuse. The investigative reporting is extremely thorough and the interviews obtained show just how easy it is for any woman to find herself in this nightmare of a situation through which Nikki Addimando has persevered. She is the most inspiring, resilient, forgiving and authentically honest subject, mother, and survivor. She exposes the horrific abuse she’s had to secretly endure to her mother in law who chooses denial over truth and understanding, to detectives and police that tell her she isn’t worthy of their protection or consideration, to a judge that tells her it didn’t happen, to a morally bankrupt DA Hannah Krause who shamelessly ignores evidence and propels the incarceration of more victims, to a jury who tells her she must be doing it to herself, and to a justice system that tells her she’s only a sympathetic survivor if she’s dead. Yet Nikki persevered without any hate in her heart, only love and hope for the children she desperately tried (and succeeded) to save from the monster that was their father. I can’t say enough good things about Nikki, this podcast, the host, and those involved in putting it out to the public. You’ve done a vitally important job so beautifully, with such care and concern. I think about Nikki every day and for someone I don’t know personally, I couldn’t wish more good things upon. Thank you for this, and for lighting a fire under me and hopefully others to fight for change 💜

AshtonPage ,

Definitely recommend

I’ve been a true crime podcast listener for years and am so glad I stumbled on this one. Your voice is something I could listen to forever!

I’m a domestic violence survivor, 3 different relationships over 10+ years of my life. It’s so sad to hear people talk about others who have never been in their shoes. All 3 of my exes acted super decent in public and around other people. That doesn’t make them good people. I’ve been held at gunpoint multiple times, choked out so hard the blood sockets in my eyes busted, multiple cuts and bruises, etc. YET I STILL STAYED! My own daughter witnessing things didn’t make me leave.

It wasn’t until my life was at such a low point with alcohol, drugs and abuse that I decided I was done living that life. I’ve been clean and sober since 02/12/2017, have had my almost 18 year old daughter back in my life for 4 years and have not been abused in almost 7 years.

Others out there that write reviews, educate yourselves. Not all homeless people are that way because of drugs/alcohol, not all sex workers are that way because they’re whor*s, and not all women/men who are abused get away!

Love the podcast and work that you did, loathe some of these ignorant peoples comments.

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