Andrew Sheeler reports in Bismarck Tribune: Government rests in Graves Trial.
A report from KFYR adds a few tidbits to the story about the fourth day of the trial: Jury Hears Witness, FBI Testimony in Graves Trial. Report says Mr. Graves has fired two court-appointed attorneys. I was only aware of one being released.
The KFYR report says one of the women who testified on Thursday said she thought she would just be pushing drugs for Mr. Graves and not engage in prostitution. A bit more detail from the woman who said she was punished for not bringing back money: she indicated she had been selling drugs that day and was tasered three times as punishment. An FBI agent was testifying on Thursday and was expected to continue on Friday.
Mr. Sheeler reports on day five of the trial.
In testimony, an FBI agent linked Mr. Graves to each of the victims. His testimony took up much of the day.
The government rested their case on Friday.
Mr. Graves then moved for a directed acquittal claiming insufficient evidence on all counts. The federal judge walked through each charge and explained why there was sufficient evidence for the jury to make a decision.
The article says the judge referred to seven charges of sex trafficking. I looked at the third superseding indictment again and counted eight charges of sex trafficking. I am guessing that one of the counts was dropped by the feds.
The judge said nine witnesses or more testified about the allegations of possession and distribution of methamphetamines. The judge indicated the obstruction allegation is supported by one woman’s testimony that Mr. Graves warned her against talking to the police.
So the judge denied the motion and the case moves forward.
Mr. Graves will present his case starting on Monday morning. The article indicates he said he will not make an opening statement. The article says he is expected to call in his defense two of the victims who testified, several of their romantic partners, two co-workers of one witness, and the FBI agent who testified on Friday.
In what I am guessing is a lot of understatement, the article says the judge warned Mr. Graves that the witnesses he has outlined are unlikely to result in giving him favorable testimony. The judge will allow Mr. Graves to call those witnesses. I’ll make a wild guess that the US Attorney is smiling this weekend at the idea of those individuals going on the stand as defense witnesses.
I seriously doubt Mr. Graves will get anything beneficial from the FBI agent. I actually cringe at the idea of the agent schooling Mr. Graves on how diligently the evidence was accumulated, reminding the jury of all the visual and electronic evidence again, and possibly opening the door to other information that would not be allowed on direct.
Only new items visible on the PACER system as of Friday night are the preliminary jury instructions posted on October 20 and two orders to produce individuals for testimony which were posted on October 22. The two individuals, whose names I do not otherwise recognized in this case, are in custody. Thus an order to relevant agencies to deliver them to court for their testimony. Putting together the pieces, I’m guessing these are romantic partners of the alleged victims.
Mr. Sheller’s tweet on Friday afternoon:
Week 1 of the Keith Graves trial is concluded. The U.S. has rested its case. In related news, if you are charged with a crime, get a lawyer.
Sounds like incredibly good advice.
Trial resumes on Monday.