A Montana newlywed told a judge Friday that she unintentionally pushed her husband off a cliff July 7 after he grabbed her arm during an argument.
“We were in the middle of an argument and he thought I was going to run away. Cody had grabbed me and I thought he was going to push me down,” Jordan Graham, 22, told a U.S. District Court judge in a pretrial hearing. “My first instinct was to get him off [of me].”
The judge was considering a defense motion alleging that FBI agents misrepresented Graham’s police interview to make it sound as if she pushed Cody Johnson, 25, after they scuffled instead of during the scuffle.
Graham also complained to the judge that the FBI agent who interviewed her made her feel “uncomfortable” by placing his hand on her knee and telling her that he was treating her as he would his own daughter.
The defense also contended that prosecutors waited too long to tell them that the FBI is conducting a DNA test on a cloth found near Johnson’s body at the bottom of a cliff in Glacier National Park, and that prosecutors believe Graham used the cloth to blindfold her husband of eight days.
Prosecutors indicated in court papers Thursday that, while tests are underway, they are not yet presenting a new theory of premeditation involving a blindfold, and only Graham knows for sure whether she blindfolded her husband before pushing him from behind.
Prosecutors say Graham shoved her husband off the cliff after sharing with friends that she’d made a mistake in getting married, and that Graham initially tried to cover up the slaying by saying Johnson had driven off with friends from out of town. Friends of Johnson’s say they don’t believe he got physical with Graham, and that he was afraid of heights.
Graham has pleaded not guilty to murder. Her trial is scheduled to start Dec. 9, although prosecutors have asked to delay the proceedings to February.