Judge denies motion to dismiss murder charge against Kalispell newlywed
MISSOULA, Mont. - A federal judge denied a Kalispell newlywed's request to have her case dismissed during a pretrial hearing on Friday. Jordan Linn Graham is charged with first- and second-degree murder in the death of her 25-year-old husband, Cody Johnson.
U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy said he's inclined to allow the trial to proceed on December 9, rather than granting a request from the prosecution to delay it until February.
Graham took the witness stand for the first time in the case, and testified about having an argument at Glacier National Park. Graham said Cody had grabbed her when they were near a cliff. Graham explained that it is her instinct to push someone when they are grabbing her.
Graham's attorney, Michael Donahoe, has claimed that the incident was an accident. He also alleges that FBI Agent Stacey Smiedala questioned Graham unrecorded and alone so he could "shape" her statement.
Graham said that Smiedala sat very close and made her uncomfortable by touching her knee for an extended period of time.
The agent testified Friday that he only "tapped" her knee to comfort her when she was crying. Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeno Baucus has said that Graham engaged in the interview voluntarily, and that it was performed properly.
Molloy ultimately ordered the prosecution to take a look at the agent's personnel records and report back with any information that may be relevant to his training and truthfulness.
Graham's defense also argued that the prosecution didn't report in a timely fashion their theory that Graham may have blindfolded Johnson before pushing him off the cliff. Court records say a piece of cloth was found near Johnson's body, and prosecutors are waiting for DNA results.
On Friday, Molloy expressed skepticism that DNA on the cloth could prove anything criminal, partly because people hike with cloths all the time. He said an attempt to have it prove that she blindfolded him would just be "speculation."
Jordan Graham's trial is still, at this time, scheduled for December 9.