Who is Nikki Addimando and Why Are So Many Moms Rallying Behind Her

Who is Nikki Addimando? You may have heard the name while searching the internet. 

Nikki Addimando is a mom of two. She was once in a 9-year relationship with a man named Christopher Grover. However, as the world has come to learn, Grover was an abusive boyfriend who would threaten Addimando and their children.

Who is Nikki Addimando and Why Are So Many Moms Rallying Behind Her

According to the New York Post, Nikki Addimando revealed that Grover routinely beat and degraded her for six years. He even filmed himself torturing and r*ping Addimondo before uploading the video onto Pornhub, she once told a therapist.

Her conversations with her therapists would prove important in her case. As CBS News reports, Addimando never filed a formal complaint with the police regarding the abuse she was subjected to. However, in 2014, she went to the hospital for an examination by a forensic nurse.

Finally, on September 28, 2017, Addimando would be threatened by Grover for the last time. On that fall day, Grover reportedly grabbed a gun, pointed it at Addimando, and threatened to kill her and himself so that “your kids will have no one,” he told her.

Terrified for her life and for her children, Addimando was the one who pulled the trigger, killing Grover. “If I could go back in time, I still don’t know in that moment — what I could have done,” she told the New York Post. “And it happened so fast. I mean, do you know what I should’ve done? Because I’ve been searching for the answer.”

As CBS News reports, Grover was discovered on the couch in the living room of the apartment they shared with a single gunshot wound to the head. “The gunshot wound to Chris Grover’s head was a hard contact wound, meaning the gun had to have been placed directly against his skin when it was shot.”

According to the podcast Believe Her, the question at the heart of Addimando’s trial was “is she a victim, or was she a master manipulator who plotted Grover’s murder?” As the podcast reports, it was because the jury wasn’t given the full picture that Addimando was found guilty.

“I wanted to live,” Nikki Addimando said at her sentencing. “So often we end up dead or where I’m standing. Alive but not free.” However, during her sentencing hearing, Judge Edward McLoughlin made this statement

“It’s clear you’ve been abused by other men,” McLoughlin told Nikki. She may have “reluctantly consented” to “intimate acts you were very uncomfortable with,” he said. “Clearly someone who would make the choices you did is a broken person. When you boil it all down, it comes to this, you didn’t have to kill him.”

After being sentenced to 19 years in jail for second-degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm, Addimando’s sentence was eventually dropped to 7-and-a-half years in 2021 when the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that Addimando was a victim of abuse, Change.org reports. As a result, the Court of Appeals said she should have been sentenced under New York’s DVSJA law.

According to Law Professor Blogs Network, DVSJA law was initially enacted in 2019. It allows judges to take domestic violence into consideration during sentencing.

During the appeal it was determined that “Judge McLoughlin’s opinion was based on an arcane belief/suggestion that the defendant could have avoided the murder by withdrawing from her apartment; […] and the defendant’s testimony regarding the events prior to the subject shooting, established that the abuse was a significant contributing factor to the defendant’s criminal behavior.”

It will be three more years until her sentence is up. But now people are advocating for clemency for Nikki Addimando.

While in jail, Addimando has been the star of a six-part podcast called Believe Her created by Lemonada Media. As Lemonada reports, especially in Addimando’s case, “perception does not equal reality.” 

And while the podcast takes you through Addimando’s story, it reveals the assumptions the public has made about domestic and sexual violence, the trauma, and a deep look into how survival can be criminalized. Now, as more and more information about Addimando’s experience comes to light, people are advocating for her freedom.

In the first episode of Believe Her, it was revealed that people knew Nikki was in danger. They saw the injuries she tried to hide behind scarves, sunglasses, and more. In fact, there were text threads among the people who knew her, wondering what they could do and how to keep Nikki Addimando safe. But even with the physical evidence they could see, even with Nikki confiding in people about what she was enduring, no one knew what to do.

A petition has been created on Change.org which asks New York Governor Kathy Hochul to use her executive clemency power to reunite Nikki Addimando with her two children. So far, the petition has been signed by 577,161 people.

During her trial, Addimando shared photos of her injuries she said she sustained as a result of Grover physically abusing her. From red marks on her face, burn marks on her body to rope burns on her wrists from being tied up, Nikki Addimando said the worst of the abuse started after they became parents.

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Nikki Addimando has not been granted clemency yet. As reporter and host of Believe Her Justine van der Leun wrote on Instagram, of the nine people Governor Hochul recently granted clemency to, Addimando, but that does not mean the advocating stops.

“In December, Hochul gave pardons to nine people — all, I’m sure, very deserving but also: all of whom had already served prison terms and had been out for years. This is politically easy for Hochul and maintains the status quo. The reality remains that Hochul freed only one single person from prison, a Black man who served *30 years* on drug-related convictions and planned to immediately self-deport to Jamaica. Hochul ignored thousands of other applications. Nikki’s was among them.”

As van der Leun continued, “This is obviously not the end of Nikki’s story. Her application was not rejected. It simply wasn’t granted. The pressure can and should remain on Hochul, for Nikki, and for others.”

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