Andrew Sheeler reports in Bismarck Tribune: Witnesses defiant in Graves’ sex-trafficking trial.
On day 3 of the trial, four more women testified of being trafficked. Each of them claimed on the stand they had been sexually assaulted at least once by Mr. Graves. That leaves three allegedly trafficked women still to testify.
At least two of the women lashed out at him during cross-examination.
One said she did not know that he was
“… messing with my young cousin.”
Neither this article nor my previous reading suggest what that comment is about. Not a good move for Mr. Graves since that introduces more indication of his mistreatment of women.
The woman mentioned in yesterday’s coverage who injected another woman with methamphetamines indicated she did so under threat of a gun held at the back of her head. She indicated this other victim had not previously done intravenous meth. This weapon is what would later turn out to be a BB gun.
By the way, have you ever seen one of those BB guns? They are made of metal, have moving parts in addition to a trigger, and are reasonably heavy. If you are not familiar with weapons you would not be able to distinguish between a handgun and BB gun. Even if you were familiar with handguns it would take a few moments of close examination to recognize the difference, something one would not have a chance to do when being threatened.
In what I’m guessing was an attempt to compromise her credibility, Mr. Graves asked her if she was making money off of other prostitutes. Earlier comments asserted this woman collected money from the other women who were being trafficked. Article says Mr. Graves’ question was whether she was:
“surviving on other girls working.”
The implication is she is trafficking other women. Part of her response was:
“You made me do it,”
I would think that is not quite the response you would like to put in front of a jury. She says essentially yes, but only because she was forced to by Mr. Graves, at which point the jury ought to recall her statement of him holding a gun at the back of her head. I’m guessing the US Attorney was pleased with that exchange.
The article is short, especially considering there was probably 5 or 6 hours of testimony Wednesday. The article is probably the right length for a general audience but a fraction of the information I’d like to see. Missing from the article is any indication whether Mr. Graves punched holes in any of the testimony from any of the four women.
Final witness for the day was a staff person from Backpage explaining their ads. I am guessing the pages of billing records showed during the trial indicate Mr. Graves was running ads on that service for the women he was allegedly trafficking.