Jean Casarez was born in 1960 and raised in Long Beach, California. She considers herself Mexican-American as both of her parents were born and raised in Mexico. She graduated from the University of Southern California and Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles where she received her Juris Doctor degree. While in law school, she won first place in a statewide Moot Court competition. She also assisted in preparing a Writ of Certiorari for the Supreme Court. She worked for a short time as a clerk in Gallagher and Tratos, Nevada and produced a news magazine show called "First Edition." Casarez is currently licensed in the Southern District of Texas Federal Court and is a member of both the Nevada and Texas bars.
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Casarez worked as a weekend anchor and legal reporter for KOLO-TV in Reno, Nevada. She also spent time as a City Hall Reporter and fill-in anchor at KENS-TV in San Antonio, Texas. In January, 2003 she joined Court TV under Turner Broadcasting. The network focused on crime-themed programs, documentary series, legal dramas, and coverage of current criminal cases. During that time she covered O.J. Simpson's kidnapping trial, the civil rights trial of Edgar Ray Killen, the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey, Kobe Bryant, Scott Peterson's sentencing verdict, the criminal trial of Elizabeth Smart's kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell.
In 2009, Court TV's weekly news block became known as In Session, and during this time Casarez covered the trial of George Zimmerman and landed the first sit down interview with his defense team of Mark O'Mara and Don West. She also covered the Casey Anthony trial and sat down with Cheney Mason, Anthony's attorney, for an in-depth look at the case. During this time she also covered the Conrad Murray and Jodi Arias trials.
In 2011, CNN prompted Casarez to fly to Lima, Peru in order to cover the arrest of Joran van der Sloot for the murder of a Peruvian college student, Stephany Tatiana Flores Ramirez. She was able to obtain security access to Castro Castro, Peru's maximum security prison, in order to interview inmates and the Director of Prisons about the country's political system.
Casarez has done numerous other long form work for CNN including Jon Benet's Murder, the Drew Peterson Case, Bill Cosby, and serial killer John Wayne Gacy. She also covered International court proceedings after the death of Anna Nicole Smith.
Casarez took personal interest in the case of James Duncan, who is serving a 70 year prison sentence for breaking thirteen of his infant son's bones. He has always proclaimed his innocence, which prompted Casarez to take a closer look at the evidence and retrieve interviews from Duncan and other involved persons. These interviews were collected for CNN's prime time documentary "Broken Bones...Shattered Lives" which aired on prime-time Saturday, February 17th, 2018. Her investigative work may have paid off, as Duncan was granted another hearing and potential verdict reversal.
In 2017, Casarez informed the country of the devastating Las Vegas shooting and reported overnight from the Las Vegas strip. She is also currently involved in reporting the Harvey Weinstein criminal case. She flew to Pittsburgh in October, 2018 to cover the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting that killed at least ten people.
Casarez serves as a legal advisor and guest on several network news shows such as CNN's "Larry King Live", "Nancy Grace" on HLN, and "Anderson Cooper 360." She also occasionally does advising work for "The Today" show on NBC and "The Early Show" on CBS.
She has been nominated for numerous journalism awards and received a 2010 Peabody Award for CNN's Network coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill.
A Twitter user, @Fragola_Girl, posted on July 4, 2018: "Thank you, @JeanCasarezCNN, for covering these most difficult cases of sexual abuse with such honesty and candor without gratuitous sensationalism. It can't have been easy. What a gift to all the survivors. Thank you." in reference to Casarez's work on Bill Cosby, USA Gymnastics coach Larry Nassar, and Ohio Statue University wrestling coach Dr. Richard Strauss. In particular, she sent out social media updates on a frequent, live basis using the hashtag "#BillCosby" during the trial.
In addition to her legal and journalism career, she has recorded six Tejano music albums in Spanish under the pseudonym Jean LeGrand. Tejano music is a mix of Spanish-American music, sometimes called "Tex-Mex" because of it's origins in Texas. Casarez's albums have been produced through CBS International and Capitol EMI Record labels. They include Tirano (CBS International, 1987), Jean Le Grand (EMI Latin, 1990), It Takes 2 Duets (EMI Latin, 1991), Enamorada (EMI :atin, 1992), and Todo Para Ti (EMI Latin, 1994.) She has toured the U.S. and Mexico performing. CBS International was purchased by Sony Music Entertainment in 1988 for $2 billion. EMI Latin was renamed Capitol Latin in 2009 when the company moved from Miami, Florida to Los Angeles, California.
Jean Casarez's Twitter account, @JeanCasarezCNN, has over 10,800 followers. Her Facebook, @JeanCasarezCNN, has over 22,500 followers.
Although she remains private, Casarez posted a picture of her anniversary dinner with her husband on July 20, 2014 on Twitter. The couple lives in New York City.
Last Modified: Apr 8, 2020