Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi: 5 Things To Know About The Host Of ID’s True Conviction
The renowned prosecutor gave Crimefeed a view into her life and work in 2019, just before season 2 of the series was set to premiere.
Interview from April 12, 2019:
For 21 years in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi tried 50 felony cases to verdict and achieved an almost perfect record as a prosecutor — particularly during her last 16 years, when she worked for the Homicide Bureau.
Last year, Nicolazzi debuted as the host of True Conviction, a hit series that chronicled her travels from coast to coast to reveal how prosecutors approach their most challenging cases, and how their work affects the lives of the loved ones left behind.
On April 16, True Conviction returns for its second season. Leading up to that, Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi took some time to reveal a few fascinating facts about herself, her work as a prosecutor, and what’s different about now being a TV personality.
Working In Brooklyn Profoundly Shaped Nicolazzi’s Approach To The Law
Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi said that she knew early on that she wanted to be a lawyer and that prosecution felt right to her as a way to “hopefully do some good.”
Once she went to work for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Nicolazzi knew she had made the right decision — and she said Brooklyn, specifically, played a part in that revelation.
“New York is known as a melting pot,” Nicolazzi told CrimeFeed, “but Brooklyn really is the epitome of that. So many different groups of people live in Brooklyn, with different religions, different cultural backgrounds, different ethnicities — Brooklyn’s got it all. I figured out early on that those cultures play an important role in understanding people, and in talking to people, to help figure out why certain things matter with one culture vs. another. It was really a necessary thing, I think, to be successful at practicing law here.”
It was a case in Brooklyn, in fact, that Nicolazzi describes that truly sealed the deal in her mind. “My first solo felony trial,” she recalled, “was a serious home invasion. The perpetrator had posed as an overnight package delivery person. Once the door was open, he tied up the mother and the children and he separated them from their father, and he ransacked the house.”
Nicolazzi vividly remembers hearing the family describing the “pure terror” of not knowing whether they’d be coming out alive. Fortunately, the family did survive, and then Nicolazzi won a conviction against the criminal.
“After that,” she said, “I knew that working as a prosecutor was what I wanted to do. I wanted to do everything possible within the bounds of the law to help make sure the person who did that to them was held responsible.”
Nicolazzi Believes Every Case Is Her “Toughest” — & That Delivering Justice Makes All The Work Worth It
In terms of naming a single case that presented the biggest challenge to her, Nicolazzi says she doesn’t view her work that way.
“There isn’t any one toughest case, because all of them present unique challenges,” she said. “Anyone who tells you that a case is a slam-dunk is being naïve. In my opinion, there is no such thing. It only takes one juror to end up with an acquittal.”
From her point of view, Nicolazzi says, “Each case should be your toughest, so that you work as hard as you can and give that case your all, because the victim and their family deserve that. I really, truly believe that."
The reward, Nicolazzi points out, comes from, “whatever relief I was able to help provide to any victim’s family. Witnessing their pain and seeing what these crimes have done to their lives is the harsh part of my job, but it’s also really important to remember what this is all about. Seeing how justice can help provide closure or help them move on in some way, that was always worth all the hours and effort.”
True Conviction Is The Show Nicolazzi Always Wanted To Do & She Believes It Has A Special Purpose
While doing TV interviews about her own cases and providing legal analysis on other cases, Nicolazzi said the thought struck her that perhaps some day she might like to be on the other side of the table, conducting the interviews.
That opportunity first presented itself in the form of the ID series Did He Do It?, which lasted one season, but also led to the creation of True Conviction.
Discussing the show’s evolution, Nicolazzi said, “My executive producer is former law enforcement, and for years we talked about the type of series we’d feel good about doing, so it’s amazing that ID really gave us the opportunity to do the exact thing we had talked about for years."
In terms of the purpose of True Conviction, Nicolazzi shared some very clear ideas.
“First things first,” she said, “it’s most important that we honor these victims, by keeping their memories alive, by telling their stories in a compelling way that we hope is showing something new to our audience, and highlighting the men and women who work on these cases and give it their all. Because to me, as a prosecutor, I believe that deserves to be showcased.”
Nicolazzi further explained, “The show’s ultimate purpose is to tell these stories through the prosecutor’s lens. That’s my area of expertise. Law enforcement needs enough to get to an arrest, and that’s how stories are usually told. Prosecutors have to have enough to get a case into court and hopefully have enough to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s very different. And that’s the way we look at and tell this stories on True Conviction. Hopefully, it’s in a way that’s compelling to the audience and gives them a better understanding of our system and the dedication of so many of my colleagues.”
True Conviction Has Provided Nicolazzi With A Few Surprises
While working as a prosecutor, Nicolazzi said she felt intimately connected with the victims and their families, in part because she was directly working with them to bring their perpetrators to justice.
What has struck her about talking to families on True Conviction, though, is that she feels similarly close to them, right away.
“It’s a surprise,” she said, “how much I actually feel connected to the people and the cases that we focus on. I’m familiar with their cases, but I’ve just met them, so it’s really something. Eventually, the cameras get shut down, and the lights go off, and I’ll still be sitting there talking with them. I always want to understand more — like, “How did the prosecutor do that?”; “How did the detective do that?”; “Tell me more, as a family, about the person that you lost.”
Nicolazzi reiterated, “This has been my life’s work, so I truly care about these people and these aspects of their lives. It is powerful and moving, and it’s a reminder of why the prosecutors do what they do. The strength of the survivors — which is how I refer to the families, because their loss makes them victims, too — their strength to keep going, inspires me. It inspires me to keep going.”
Nicolazzi Can Name 3 Essential Differences Between Working In The Courtroom & Working On A TV Show
When asked to name a few changes between her current job on True Conviction and her old job as a prosecutor, she came up with three.
“One,” she said, “is getting to highlight the work of others is a great feeling. It’s nice not to feel the immense pressure that I always felt when the case was my own. It’s my job to show just how dedicated the people involved in these cases are in everything they do.”
As for the next difference, Nicolazzi said, “Secondly, my work has always been in Brooklyn, New York, so learning how things are done differently from Indiana to California to Massachusetts and everywhere in between is fascinating to me. We all have the same job to do, to prosecute these homicides. But it matters whether it’s in a small town or a rural area, and because of the laws, it’s really interesting to see how that effects the way things are done.”
Finally, Nicolazzi noted, “The last is perhaps lighter, but really no less important. I would say the word, ‘sleep.’ I work long hours on the show, but I do get some sleep. Being less sleep-deprived than when I was working on the trials is a nice perk."