Jordan Graham Pleads Not Guilty to First-Degree Murder

Bride accused of pushing her newlywed husband off a cliff claims it was an accident.
3:00 | 12/10/13

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Transcript for Jordan Graham Pleads Not Guilty to First-Degree Murder
This is a special room. Hi everyone I'm Devin Dwyer in Washington this is an ABC news digital special report accused newlywed killer Jordan Graham was back in a Montana courtroom for a second day she's charged with first degree murder for pushing her husband off a cliff. Just eight days into their marriage Graham first told police that her husband Cody Johnson. Drove off with friends and never returned then she changed her story saying they were fighting in Glacier National Park. And she accidentally pushed him off the cliff -- defending herself. Today an emotional day in the courtroom -- sixteen year old brother testified that his sister initially lied to police about what happened. Both he and his sister crying in court very emotional day there. Following all this is ABC news chief legal affairs correspondent Dan Abrams Dan thank you for being here give us an update on where things stand here -- and how does the defendant sixteen year old brother breaking down. Influence the jury what -- that do in this case. So what prosecutors are trying to do right now is demonstrate all of the lies that she told. Leading up to the body being found but of course after. She had already pushed him off the ledge. They're trying to show that. She intended to do this that she wasn't trying to. Suddenly help out. And when you hear from her own brought. Who clearly loves his sister breaking down on the stand saying I just wish he told me the truth. It doesn't help the prosecution that's right doesn't help the defense in the -- that said keep in mind it's still going to be hard. For prosecutors to prove that she intended. To push him. Off of the mountain meaning her claim is that he grabs me. I push him back it's basically self defense. Prosecutors have the burden of proof to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt which is why they're focusing so much on what happened. Afterwards. Because in essence they're saying that guilty mind. It she had. Is demonstrative. Of the intense. And her mental state throughout this entire -- And one I guess glimpse through one of the only glimpses that we haven't of that initial guilty mind if you will that. The jury watched and video today in -- courtroom. Of that interview that the police did wit with -- immediately after they've been broader in for questioning. But but a segment of that interview was missing and -- the beginning of that of that interview isn't there does that does that complicate things here and why didn't the FBI. Our role on the top of that interview -- -- it was something like twenty minute. Well it seems that that there were basically three parts to the interview and the FBI would say. We were just talking -- -- at first trying to get a sense of what the story was once we got her story. We then began roll the problem is that the most incriminating thing that the authorities are trying to use against terror. Is something that they say we said before the tapes started rolling. It basically she pushed him in the back as he was kind of walking away. That's not -- quite which he says once the tape is rolling. And so the credibility. Of the FBI agent who claims to have heard that. Is going to become crucial in this case and the judge is even -- -- given instruction here that says -- You can look at this carefully because they didn't record it. That's why demonstrating intent is going to be so important. And why it's gonna be so hard I think for prosecutors. Based on this evidence. It's. -- and then maybe a hard -- to meet as you say but certainly. Interest -- -- that is that she lied right off the batter appeared to have lied of course. Her defense attorney says that she lied because the police she was afraid the police wouldn't believe her. But you know you've covered so many of these cases -- I've got to believe that's pretty incriminating if it's somebody lies the police right off. The top -- it she's admitting she -- she's admitting she lied to her friends she liked or family member she lied to the police editor's note there's no dispute about that is also no dispute. That he fell off -- at her hands the question is. What exactly happened and now she's explaining in essence why she -- now what's gonna be really interesting is the question of does -- take the witness stand. Ordinarily in a case like this -- would say that's so risky for the defense defendants take the stand defender probably won't take the stand. I -- the defendant in this case really may have to take the stand. In order to get jurors to really believe her account but that's something where. Her lawyers gonna have to figure out after talking Bure in going through a mock examination would she be a good witness. You know what other piece of evidence stand we haven't talked about are these text messages. That have come up between Jordan and her maid of honor some. Showing she had second doubts about the marriage they're not cut and dry -- right I -- both sides can use these messages to paint a picture that's favorable to them. That's right for the prosecution -- the motive prosecutors are saying she wanted out and this was their ticket. The defense is saying she went out there to confront him. About how unhappy she was in the marriage and that she was nervous about what he might do to her. And -- what -- the text messages supports that. -- -- -- her defense year which is. We're arguing. About our marriage he grabs my arms I push him off next thing I know he's fallen. Over -- the cliff. That's not a crime if her account is true. Of course the problem there is -- -- you've got the authorities saying she offered a different account and -- you've got all these lies that she told. After. The incident occurred. It's a lot of -- at the end of the day they'll it's a lot of circumstantial evidence. We've been talking about here I mean is it really gonna just come down to do you think. Her word if she takes the stand against these prosecutors. Absolutely and -- and if she doesn't take the stand. Which she might not. It comes down to has the prosecution be able to prove. That requirement of intent. Beyond a reasonable doubt of the interest in question later on will be. Does the judge instructor what are called lesser included offenses meaning does the judge instruct the jury on the possibility of manslaughter. Or involuntary manslaughter. Which should be much lesser crimes here. And it'll be -- -- staying. Legal strategy. To see you prosecutors want the lesser included is the defense want the lesser included as they wanna go for all or nothing. -- -- -- -- Because this is going to be such a close case at a tough case -- regard to the murder -- It's an interesting case indeed in -- -- aspect but also very sad this newlywed couple really sad tragic situation. ABC news chief legal affairs correspondent Dan Abrams also Nightline anchor. -- think -- so much for being here. And of course we'll continue to follow this case on abcnews.com and ABC news digital. Thank you so much for watching this has been an ABC news digital special report on Devin Dwyer and Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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