Speaking up For Silent Voices

Photo of Lori Rothschild Ansaldi, article image

While Lori Rothschild Ansaldi is not a lawyer, you would not know it from how she spends her days.

Ansaldi spends hours on legal research as part of her job as a true-crime TV and podcast reporter and producer. Her work led to her launching a podcast, The System, in October 2022 with reality TV personality Kim Kardashian. The show focuses on people who are incarcerated and claim they were wrongly accused. Just days after its debut, The System reached number one on Spotify’s true-crime podcast chart in the United States and became the number one podcast on Spotify in the U.S., Canada, and several other countries.

Ansaldi’s connection with Kardashian was sparked by the story of Kevin Keith, an Ohio man who maintains he did not commit a triple homicide for which he was convicted in 1994. Ansaldi had been investigating the story for seven years and was joined by Kardashian in 2018.

“I thought Kevin was a unicorn — that there were no others like him,” Ansaldi said. “Then I realized Kevin is one of thousands. When you wrap your head around this, you start to realize how often this goes on: wrongful convictions, bail [inequities], and innocent people being executed.”

When she featured the case on her podcast it gave her a whole new following. Ansaldi received bags of what she called “jail mail” from others who claimed to have been wrongly prosecuted and wanted her to investigate their cases.

In response, Ansaldi founded The Silent Voices, an organization dedicated to freeing the innocent, eliminating wrongful convictions, and working to make the criminal justice system more equitable for everyone. She is currently campaigning for dozens of people who maintain they were wrongly convicted and is working with other advocacy groups to reform the criminal justice system.

“I feel like if you hear about something that is unjust and do nothing about it, then you are complicit,” explained Ansaldi. “A lot of people think that they don’t have the ability to make change. But in this media landscape, we all have a megaphone, some are just bigger.”

Ansaldi is advocating to have the death penalty repealed to prevent the possibility of innocent people being executed, and she is hopeful the Keith case will be the one that tips the scales. “It’s an imperfect system,” said Ansaldi, daughter of a police officer and founder of Big City TV, a content production company that specializes in documentaries and true-crime stories. “Being a daughter of a cop, working with them as long as I have, it was extremely difficult,” she said.

While at Farmingdale State College (FSC), Ansaldi earned her associate degree in business management and a bachelor’s in business management and communications. “My parents couldn’t afford to send me to school, but they instilled in me how important degrees are,” she noted. “My associate degree was the inspiration to do great things. It was really important for me to get that stepping stone; that’s what FSC gave me.”

Ansaldi later became interested in law and considered law school, but at the same time liked the creativity of television. One summer she was taking prelaw classes while interning with The Ricki Lake Show.

She recalls the day she came into her family’s North Babylon home and told her father she was rethinking law school and interested in a career in true crime TV.

“He said, ‘You are going to be poor the rest of your life,’” Ansaldi recalled. “I’ve been trying to prove him wrong the rest of my life.” At this point, she has little to prove and is focusing on the changes she hopes she can help make with the tools she has.

“I think about my legacy and what I want to leave my children,” she noted. “That is what the power of media can do: expose people to things that happen in the human condition. That creates tolerance, and tolerance creates respect.”

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