Legal analyst takes fresh look at familiar cases
Ashleigh Banfield maintains the Court TV she has returned to isn’t the same one she left almost a decade ago.
After stints at CNN and HLN, the journalist and legal analyst came back to her former television home earlier this year, and she reaffirms that with the premiere of her series “Judgment” Sunday, Sept. 13. Revisiting famous cases with such household-name defendants as O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias, it includes new interviews and what are billed as “exclusive first-time reveals,” amid much footage from the Court TV archives.
“We don’t need to do anything different, because what we do is different,” Banfield reasons with respect to how many true-crime series exist now. “Court TV is gavel-to-gavel coverage, so it’s not music and graphics and all these sort-of-magical elements. It’s really the true story in its most raw format, so I think that’s what stands out. There’s no editing and there’s no writing. It’s just pure information as it happens.”
Indeed, Banfield notes, “What happens in a courtroom, I like to say, is the most true drama I’ve ever experienced. Typically, it’s bifurcated: One side is supporting a defendant and the other side is supporting a prosecution, and it is palpable. You can feel the energy, and sometimes, it’s frightening.
“Not everybody allowed cameras in the courtroom,” recalls Banfield, also an MSNBC alum, “and it’s a testament to the hard work over the years and years of Court TV to open up that process and give us a window, as the public should have. Unless you were prepared to hoof it to your nearest county courtroom and watch a trial, we weren’t always able to consume this kind of information.”
Such situations also are current for Banfield. “I have been covering (the Jeffrey) Epstein (case) since its inception,” she says, “and I don’t sleep at night all the time because of that. I find this a fascinating case for many reasons, not only because of the extraordinary litigation that has transpired that’s been new to my colleagues and me and most prosecutors, and (to) defense attorneys I’ve interviewed.”