Andrew Sheeler reports in Bismarck Tribune: Jury to begin deliberations in Graves trial.
It would appear that Mr. Graves heeded the judge’s advice yesterday that if there were any more outbursts he would be removed from the court. He presented his defense today and argued for dismissal after he rested his case. Presumably he made his own closing argument.
From the article it sounds like it was a contentious day. Several witnesses shared their anger and frustration for having been called to testify. One witness threatened Mr. Graves suggesting it would be a very bad thing if they’re both on the same side of the fence, presumably assigned to the same jail at the same time.
Mr. Graves tried to get this witness to say that one of the alleged victims was not honest, which would then presumably imply her testimony should not be trusted. I’m not particularly sure this was a smart move even to begin with, not only because the man said she had never lied to him, but because the witness and the alleged victim had a child together. I don’t think that getting that guy on the stand was a very good idea.
It would be a really bad idea for these two guys to ever be in the same jail or even within rifle range of each other. Seeing the man who you believe forcibly trafficked the mother of your child would probably get a violent reaction from, oh, just about every male on the planet.
Yesterday I mentioned a man who was going to appear for testimony under a habeas corpus order since he was in custody. This man was a roommate of Mr. Graves’ at some earlier point. Mr. Graves got the man to testify that he didn’t think several of the witnesses were trustworthy, saying he has heard they like to steal from people. Under cross-examination this witness admitted that he didn’t know the women very well. Or at least several of them he didn’t know.
The article is obviously short and didn’t cover all the witnesses. I hope Mr. Graves got something stronger to support his defense that those reported comments from two individuals.
Mr. Graves did not testify in his own defense.
After resting his case, he asked the judge to dismiss the charges. The article says he had two arguments. First, although accused of possession and distribution of methamphetamines he pointed out the feds only presented testimony that trace amounts were found in his possession. Second, although the alleged victims claim he kept all the money from their illegal activity, police confiscated only small amounts of currency when he was arrested. Presumably the argument is that a person has to be caught with large amounts of drugs and has to be caught with cash on hand to be guilty of these alleged crimes.
The judge agreed with the US Attorney who said that possession of neither drugs nor money was necessary.
From context of the article, I think there was enough time left after the defense case, oral arguments, and jury instructions for the jury to begin their deliberations on Wednesday afternoon. Update: From Mr. Sheeler’s tweets, I realize I made a bad assumption. The deliberations start on Thursday.
Nothing particularly noteworthy on PACER today. Just some Writs of Habeas Corpus on the two men described above as witnesses today.
My uninformed layman’s guess? I think we will hear back quickly from the jury. I will make a further wild guess there will be a number of guilty verdicts.
Update: KFYR reports Graves Will Not Testify in Court, Calls 9 Witnesses. Two of the nine were women who testified against him. The men called, as discussed above, were intended to impeach their credibility by highlighting known drug issues.