Jury Selection to Begin in Newlywed Murder Case

Young bride stands accused of pushing her new husband off the cliff.
3:00 | 12/09/13

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Transcript for Jury Selection to Begin in Newlywed Murder Case
This is a special room. I'm Dan a couple of New York where this ABC news digital special report jury selection is underway at a higher profile Montana murder trial. In which a young bride is accused of pushing her new husband to his death. And Glacier National Park just days after their wedding ABC's brandy hit is in Los Angeles the latest from the courtroom -- Hi -- just -- the jury's been selected and -- told opening statements are about to get under -- right now inside that federal courtroom. The biggest issue in this case is -- are no witnesses just the husband and bride alone together on this hike. One of them is now dead while the other is on trial for her life. -- shorting -- murder her husband Cody Johnson by pushing him off the edge of this mountain cliff. Or was it an accident. That's what twelve jurors must decide as the 22 year -- murder trial gets under -- inside -- Montana courthouse. The prosecution I think -- got a tough hurdle in this case she will get a presumption of innocence because she's -- pretty white woman. In court documents prosecutors claimed just eight days after their wedding Graham fell out of love. And it offended push mr. Johnson in the back with both hands. Mr. Johnson fell face first to his death at Glacier National Park while wearing a blindfold. Prosecutors also believed Graham then tried covering the murder up by sending herself an elaborate series of emails and text messages from a fake account. Prosecution is going to say her story doesn't make sense and they're gonna focus a lot on what she did. Afterwards. Because they've got a lot of evidence that she was engaged in a cover up. Graham's defense attorneys claim her 25 year old husband -- accidentally. When she pushed his arm away during an argument. The fact that she openly admits. That she took a dear friend from us this is boggles my mind. In court documents the defense admits -- story changed over time but maintains the young bride is innocent. Now the government is expected to call 39 witnesses including forensic experts the judge said in court today he hopes to have the trial to the jury within the next five days stand. So at this for the jury selection is just underway but already though are we expecting -- to actually take the stand in her own defense. That is what everyone wants to know because as we've said there were only two people who were there at that moment that know what happened and again one of them is dead when he talked a legal experts. They say the decision probably won't be made until the prosecution rests its case. The defense skin and see if it's necessary to put her on the stand because once you put that defendant on the stand. Legal -- -- believe that. Members of the jury are more going to be interest in what she has to say how she looked how she reacted. And not whether the prosecution has proven its case Dan what about from the family of the victim Cody Johnson and we hurt. From them. Right now family and friends are being very tight -- and unfortunately with thick with a case like this it's in a federal courtroom so this is different we're talking about. -- a national park federal courtroom taking over this case so. We're not going to be able to see or hear anything that goes in -- court phones aren't even allowed in I found out today so everything that's gonna come out. And reaction is gonna have to happen outside the courtroom and so far -- leading up to this. Nobody's been talking as far as the attorneys nobody's been saying anything so we're curious to see what happens after this first day in court today. All right ABC's -- at forest -- thank you for that. I want to bring in now Denver based criminal defense attorney Lisa Wayne showed a little bit more on this case Lisa thanks for being with us today. -- I want to talk a little bit about just how shocking this case is for a moment a seemingly. Happy young couple married a little more than a week before in front of friends and family. You see them smiling in pictures and it ends so tragically in such a short period of time. Well I. I think that's right and that's that the defense is going to rely on that kind of emotion that you have surprised shocked how could this happen. And they're going to be betting that that's what the jurors are going to have. That same kind of dismay about how could this happen. A nice young woman seemingly nice young man that doesn't make sense that she would intentionally. And Lisa right now friends are saying that Jordan. Was essentially having second thoughts about the marriage how was that gonna play with cheers. I think that the defense is this a second -- not translate into killing your spouse out. A lot of young couples may have been a lot of old couples had second thoughts thinking did I make the right step didn't do in his step up. Premeditated. Murder taking -- act out there and intentionally pushing him over -- -- -- Quantum leap from I had second thoughts about my. -- from your opinion what do you see -- the strongest piece of evidence that prosecutors have to work with against Jordan. Her. Inconsistent statements -- she made an hour -- twenty minute statement to the first detector and into subsequent statements. Obviously. That's going to really weigh against her in this case I'd be surprised that the defense -- strong stand. -- the defense is gonna say that first statement was not videotaped. It's not credible and the two subsequent statements where she was very clear that it was self defense that she was reacting to what had happened that the statement -- -- injured. So it sounds as if -- almost trying to minimize the message that she's going to be able to present in front of that jury. I don't think you need to testify when you've already testify she's given statements she's cooperating. Now the government has to prove that she dead. So I would be in their surprise -- put propagandist and -- but she's already sad. -- to get the prosecution more fodder to go after her about those inconsistencies. I'd leave it alone -- arguing this. Now investigators say that they found a blindfold. Near the body. It is the possibility of that being entered into evidence. Expert that the government has endorsed an expert to talk about. That blindfold and I assume that the government's theory is laid out in their trial brief is that not only did she get him down there she blindfolded him. Which could be consistent with the statements that we've heard that he she had a surprise for him -- and how they're going to try to weed that together that always going to be -- -- legal battle during the trial. As we mentioned this is a federal court so how does that affect the burden of proof. The burden of proof is exactly the same federal court what is different will be to quit jury selection that -- seen in this process. Most of the time in federal court judges do not allow major and the lawyers to ask many questions of the jurors so that process as much quicker. -- it's just a much quicker process and state courts because the dockets are different actors. And and the judges could speed Belmont that the burden of -- -- this -- -- government has the burden of proof I have to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt and right now expect critical stage is building in the jury so what does each side looking for as far as assembling those twelve jurors. Good day each side always lots and sure that's going to be open mind and although I think we're before that it was it. I'm statement about they're hoping that the jurors don't make up their mind and -- -- into the prosecution's case. We this is what we now 80% of jurors make up their mind after the opening statements so after the lawyers lay out their cases. Then what happens -- can they really proved what they sat. And that's what this -- this process is going to be about and be very interesting to see what kind opening statements made in this case the trial briefs are very specific. I'm very clear about the evidence the government intends to groups and the defense is very clear about what they don't think the government won't prevent this gas. A case that a lot of people are going to be paying very close attention to Lisa Wayne's criminal defense attorney Lisa thank you for that. And we do have a complete wrap right here on abcnews.com for now -- down Cutler in New York with this ABC news digital special report.

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

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