Andrew Sheeler reports in Bismarck Tribune: Alleged driver testifies against Graves.
On day 4 of the trial, three more women testified of being abused.
Article is not as detailed as I would like, obviously. Text says one of the three avoided being trafficked and mentioned her cousin was exploited. That seems to be the same comment as yesterday, but also seems to be from a different person.
One woman testified on Tuesday, four more Wednesday, and three yesterday would equal eight witnesses, which is the number of women alleged to have been trafficked in the indictment.
One victim testified she didn’t bring in any money one day and Mr. Graves allegedly used a taser on her as punishment. She claims to have been raped by Mr. Graves several times.
Most of the article discusses a named man who testified under federal immunity. He stated he helped package and distribute methamphetamines for Mr. Graves. He also drove women to appointments with customers.
This man and Mr. Graves met while they were both staying at Concordia Lutheran Church when the Overnighters program was running. I have discussed that program extensively.
Later this man got fired for having marijuana in his system during a drug test. Mr. Graves jumped in and offered him drugs. This man was paid for his services by food, gas, or drugs instead of currency.
One implication of that testimony is that in addition to arguing with and deceiving then-pastor Jay Reinke and pulling a huge con-job on Jesse Moss, the producer of The Overnighters, Mr. Graves was also apparently recruiting helpers while in the program.
Only information that came out of cross-examination which on the surface seems to be damaging to the feds’ case was this man perceived that all of the women involved in the situation were engaged in the activity voluntarily. He believes any of them could have left at any time.
On the other hand, I’m not sure if that is really what Mr. Graves wanted to put in front of the jury. I don’t quite see how arguing that women from whom you are getting some of the proceeds of their illegal activity were engaged in that illegal activity voluntarily can in any way undercut the allegation that you are getting some of the proceeds from their illegal activity. Doesn’t it seem like that is sort of, kinda, proving the allegations in the indictment?
Doesn’t that line of questioning seem to imply that Mr. Graves was involved in whatever their activity was and that he knew what they were doing?
Obviously the articles can give the merest whiff of what was covered in cross-examination, but the few comments mentioned don’t suggest the cross-exams are going very well for Mr. Graves.