8/15 Update – Status of federal charges against Keith Graves

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Update:  Federal trial on 11 counts is underway in October 2015. Links to all posts covering the federal trial are at this post.


A federal grand jury has returned a third superseded indictment against Keith Graves. As you recall, he has been charged with multiple counts of human trafficking in federal court. He is representing himself as he prepares for his trial which is still scheduled to start October 19, 2015.

The third update to the indictment adds two new items: an 11th count for trafficking another person and a forfeiture allegation.

Mr. Graves was featured in the documentary “The Overnighters“, which I have discussed at length on my blog.

Previous status reports:

The new accusation is trafficking an additional adult female. This is the eighth alleged victim of human trafficking.

What makes this count peculiar is the time he is alleged to have been trafficking her started in May 2014 and is alleged to have continued through October 2014.

The earliest article I have on the criminal case is Williston man faces human trafficking, GSI charges, which ran in the Bismarck Tribune on August 1, 2014. The article says he was arrested on a Friday and the article is dated on a Friday. I don’t know if things move so fast that you can have a warrant issued, be taken into custody, and appear for a preliminary hearing all on the same day. So he may have been arrested on August 1 or perhaps he was arrested a week earlier on July 25, 2014.

The article says the authorities claim he used a weapon or something that looks like a weapon for some of his alleged crimes. The initial allegations are that he trafficked three women.

With that October timing on count 11, the federal indictment is alleging that he continued to traffic a woman for about two or three months after he was in custody. Some of the counts give end dates of “in or about” July and some allege an end date of August 2014. I am totally clueless on how one runs a trafficking ring, so I can only make a guess that you probably have someone helping you if you continue trafficking while sitting in the Williston city jail.

The forfeiture allegation claims Mr. Graves will forfeit two laptops, two tablets, seven phones, and one black Colt BB gun. The indictment alleges he used those items while committing some of the alleged felonies and therefore will forfeit them upon conviction. Only odd thing about the forfeiture allegation is lack of any mention of currency.  The forfeiture allegation is attached to counts 6, 9, and 10.

What’s the deal with that BB gun?

I don’t think I have tied that into the story before. Here’s the deal:

As reported by the Williston Herald on October 10, 2014, Graves Gun Found in Reinke’s House, a Williston police officer testified at Mr. Graves’ hearing that the BB gun was found in a July 31 search of the home of Mr. Reinke. It reportedly looks like a real gun. Furthermore, as just mentioned, Mr. Graves is alleged to have used that in the process of threatening one of the trafficking victims.

Keep in mind the Overnighters program ended in September 2013. That was also the month that Pastor Reinke resigned as pastor and became Mr. Reinke. Trafficking allegedly continued until summer or fall of 2014 and the weapon was found in a search on July 31, 2014. Remember at the end of the Overnighters documentary, Mr. Graves was staying in the Reinke home.

Anyone have any idea whether it is normal for the feds to add another felony count to an indictment when the trial is only eight weeks away? My not-so-wild guess is we will see another continuance in the trial date.

The case just gets weirder and weirder. On the other hand, I haven’t followed any federal trafficking cases before this one. Maybe this is normal.

Update8/19 – Dickinson Press – Graves indicted for third time, demands evidence from state’s attorney’s office – Mr. Graves was arraigned on the third superceding indictment on 8/19, as scheduled.  He entered a not guilty plea.

He stated in court that he believes the Williams county State’s Attorney has materials that would help in his defense and wants to obtain the items.  He did not state publicly what evidence he is looking for.

Article reminds us that he was initially charged at the state level in August 2014. Those charges were dropped to let the federal charges go forward. My guess is the state could move faster in getting charges filed, which would put him in custody so he would be off the street. In the meantime, the feds continued their investigation and getting their case put together.

As a hint that this was the plan from the beginning, I recall that the FBI was assisting the state in the investigation back when this was being investigated by the state.

Update 10/1 : Keith Graves trial still set for October 19

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