The trial involving the Montana woman who is accused of pushing her new husband off a cliff starts on Monday.
A jury will be tasked to decide whether 22-year-old Jordan Graham is guilty of murder in the death of Cody Johnson.
Graham's trial will take place in the U.S. District Court in Missoula and is expected to last one to two weeks with dozens of expert witnesses scheduled to testify. There are no eyewitnesses that will be called by either the defense or prosecution.
Federal prosecutors will attempt to convince jurors that Graham deliberately pushed Johnson off a cliff and then later made up the story about how he was last seen driving off with friends.
Graham's federal public defenders will ask jurors to believe that while Graham thought she married too young her husband's death was an accident.
Graham's attorney had previously argued that his client's initial claims that it was an accident have been manipulated in order to shape the prosecutions argument that she had planned on killing her new husband. Those new claims and the revelation that Johnson was blindfolded before he died could be used by federal prosecutors that Graham planned his death.
"Government counsel told the defense for the first time that premeditation may be proved because the government now believes Jordan placed a blindfold on Cody before pushing him off the ledge," the defense's motion to dismiss charges against Graham read.
"If, as is stated in the complaint affidavit, Jordan and Cody were arguing intensely on the ledge it hardly seems plausible that the argument would case abruptly so Jordan could apply a blindfold. Frankly at this point the defense has no idea of how the government intends to try this case," the defense's affidavit continued.
Prosecutors maintain that Graham made comments about blindfolding Johnson during their hike, which shows premeditation on her behalf and could lead to a stronger sentence if she is found guilty.
"I didn't want to do that trail because I was afraid that, I mean there is a cliff right there," Graham told detectives. "And you could fall. And he [Johnson] said, 'I could do this with a blindfold on.' And he said, 'I could just put it on, take a step but I wouldn't even fall.' And I was like – and it just kept going through my head that, um, you are going to fall or something."
Police did find a piece of cloth in the area where Johnson's body was found; DNA tests are currently being performed to see if it could have been used. Meanwhile, Graham maintains that she only shoved Johnson in a fit of anger and had no intention of killing him. Graham has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree murder charges and making false statements to law enforcement.