(HELENA, Mont.) -- Jury selection began Monday in the case of a Montana bride who is accused of pushing her husband off a cliff at Glacier National Park after an argument just eight days after their wedding.
Jordan Graham, 22, is fighting for her freedom as she prepares to go on trial for allegedly killing her husband, Cody Johnson.
Prosecutors allege that the couple had been married just eight days when Graham blindfolded her husband and pushed him face-first to his death.
In their legal briefs, Graham's attorneys admit her "story changed over time," but maintain Johnson's death was an accident.
The defense wrote in a federal court brief last week that despite expected testimony that Graham had gotten cold feet about the marriage, "witnesses thought the wedding was perfectly normal." The case is being tried in federal court because Johnson died in a national park.
"Videos and photographs from the wedding will show their affection," the defense wrote. "They look at each other and smile, but are both obviously nervous."
Prosecutors, however, plan to argue that Graham killed her new husband after she allegedly told a friend she was having doubts about her marriage.
In the days after Johnson was reported missing, Graham went to great lengths to "hide her crime from friends, family, and law enforcement," according to prosecutors, even allegedly sending herself emails from a fake account she created named "Tony."
When interviewed by authorities the following day, Graham claimed that she saw "a dark-colored car pulling out of the driveway" after receiving a text from her husband saying he was heading out with a friend from out of town, according to the affidavit.
Graham reported the discovery of Johnson's body to a park ranger on July 11, according to the affidavit. When the park ranger commented that it was unusual that she was the one to make the discovery, Graham allegedly said, "It was a place he wanted to see before he died."
Police had to use a helicopter to retrieve Johnson's body from the steep cliffs below the park's Loop Trail. His body was recovered on July 12.
U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy ruled on Friday that alleged statements Graham made about wanting to kill her mother and stepfather just weeks before her wedding would not be admissible at trial.
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