14 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 • 1.5K 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
1.5K Ratings

1.5K Ratings

Midwestern Mom ,

Listen and believe Nikki - not the prosecutor

Wonderful, insightful reporting. Tragic story about how purposefully ignorant criminal Justice system is. Prosecutor’s callousness terrifying - talk about willful blindness. System does not deliver Justice for survivors.

KB2181 ,

I believe her

What a heart wrenching story. Thank you Justine for telling Nikki’s story so incredibly well. I live in Colorado and had never heard of Nikki until I saw her on Hilarie Burton Morgan’s Instagram. There was not an episode in this podcast where I did not have tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach. This is an important podcast to listen to even if it’s hard to hear. Nikki’s story needs to be heard because it matters. She matters. Her children matter and they need their mother. Nikki, I wholeheartedly believe you and I’m so sorry for all you have been through. You are amazingly strong and resilient.

Skimmingby ,

The system doesn’t allow victims to leave their abusers

This was so well done and eye opening. Breaks my heart how people with means & family support can say ignorant things like “she should have just left”. Most moms will do everything in their power to protect their children and that’s what she did by staying. If she’d left, he would have used those children against her. And f-off to all those people who say he was a “nice guy”. I’m sure he was to you - doesn’t mean he didn’t do messed up things to his girlfriend.

Also - should a vaginal wax ever burn me like that you better believe I’ll be writing reviews and screaming it to anyone who will listen how much they screwed up a bikini wax!

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