Where Are Attorneys Leah Askey and Joel Schwartz Now?

The Thing About Pam details the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria, the wrongful conviction of her husband Russ, and the involvement of her friend Pam Hupp (Renée Zellweger) in the whole case.

Being a true crime drama, the NBC show features several real-life people including the lawyers who were involved in the trial of Russ Faria (Glenn Fleshler) in 2013: Leah Askey and Joel Schwartz.

Askey (played by Judy Greer) was the prosecuting attorney on the case and Schwartz (Josh Duhamel) represented Faria both in 2013 and his appeal in 2015, in which he was found not guilty and his conviction was overturned.

But what happened to the two attorneys since the case, and are they still practicing law? Here, Newsweek looks at where Askey and Schwartz are now.

Where is Attorney Joel Schwartz Now?

Schwartz is based in Saint Louis, Missouri, and he continues to work as a criminal defense lawyer at the law firm Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry.

The attorney was an integral part of Dateline's reporting of the Betsy Faria murder case and also spoke for their program about Hupp.

Jenny Klein, the showrunner for The Thing About Pam, also told Newsweek about the important role Schwartz played in the creative process of the true crime drama.

"Russ Faria, Joel Schwartz and [defense lawyer] Nate Swanson in particular were incredibly helpful sources as we explored this case on our show," Klein said. "Russ, Joel and Nate visited the writers' room, and were swift to answer any questions that we had along the way.

"Details of the case, but character details too, like the fact that Joel plays guitar and is in a band. If we had more time on the show, there could've been a whole storyline with Joel's band of hockey dads!

"I remember Josh Duhamel's first day as Joel, we were filming the scene in [episode 2] at Joel's house when Joel and Nate theorize about the "murder slippers" (a term that the real Joel and Nate jokingly used), and Josh asked what kind of liquor Joel drinks. I texted Joel, and he replied: 'Bourbon!' So, Josh drank bourbon in that scene."

Schwartz has also written a book about Betsy's murder titled Bone Deep: Untangling the Twisted True Story of the Tragic Betsy Faria Murder Case, which was released in February 2022.

Where is Attorney Leah Askey Now?

Askey now goes by Leah Chaney after getting remarried. She is still practicing law and she works in a private practice dealing with family law, criminal defense, landlord tenant, personal injury and expungements cases.

The lawyer served as the prosecuting attorney of Lincoln County, Missouri, for eight years, but in 2018 she lost her re-election campaign to Mike Wood.

In his campaign, Wood vowed to reopen the Betsy Faria case and in 2021 he charged Hupp with her murder.

The case is ongoing and Hupp, who is serving a life sentence for the killing of Louis Gumpenberger, has denied all allegations made against her.

Greer, who plays the lawyer in the series, told Newsweek that Chaney had spoken to showrunner Klein and producers for The Thing About Pam, but she didn't speak to her directly.

"It's not like we're imitating these people, it's not a re-enactment, it's our version of the story," Greer explained. "So in a lot of ways I don't really know if it was necessary, or how helpful it would be. I mean, it works really well for some people [but] in this case I didn't really feel like I needed it."

Chaney spoke with KSDK about the 2011 murder case, sharing that she regretted "ever running for prosecuting attorney" but did not regret how she handled the case itself, despite claims of poor investigative work.

Speaking to the news station, Chaney said: "If I had to do it again I absolutely wouldn't do it again, it's very difficult being a female in a position of power, especially when you're going against defense attorneys who had some kind of score to settle or axe to grind at some point, it was a perfect storm for me.

"At the same time I'm doing that I'm also going through a divorce and you know I wouldn't do it again, those are my regrets for sure. But as far as do I have regrets to how I did my job? I don't.

"I don't have any regrets with regard to that because I feel like everything I did over and again I did in an effort to make sure we were going down the right path and we were not prosecuting somebody that shouldn't be prosecuted for a crime."

Chaney also said some people have tried multiple times to have her disbarred and have accused her of "despicable things across the board" in an attempt to discredit her and "destroy my character both professionally and personally."

The lawyer explained that each case brought against her has been dismissed because there have been no findings to prove the allegations made against her, but she admitted she had "grown tired" of these attempts to discredit her.

The Thing About Pam airs Tuesdays on NBC at 10 p.m. ET.

The Thing About Pam
Josh Duhamel and Judy Greer as Joel Schwartz and Leah Askey in "The Thing About Pam." Skip Bolen/NBC

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