Former Sheriff Maketa's retrial postponed 3 months

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE (9/5):
The judge overseeing ex-Sheriff Terry Maketa's retrial announced a postponement of the trial for three months.

Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa arrives in court ahead of jury selection on June 27, 2017.

Maketa's new trial date is set for Jan. 23. One of Maketa's attorneys said it was necessary to investigate defense strategy to call different witnesses from the last trial, a possible surgery and because Maketa has an "employment opportunity."

Maketa's corruption trial ended in a partial mistrial on June 27. He was originally set to be re-tried on Oct. 3, the same day as a previously scheduled trial for ex-Undersheriff Paula Presley.

Prosecutors previously announced they intend to retry Maketa on four counts that deadlocked an El Paso County jury - extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and two counts of official misconduct.

________________________
UPDATE (7/17): Nearly a week after being acquitted on some charges, ex-Sheriff Terry Maketa will be tried again.

The jury was unable to come to a decision on four charges, namely extortion-related charges and first-degree criminal misconduct.

Jury selection for the new trial begins Oct. 3.

TRIAL COVERAGE:

DAY 9 (7/11)

4:10 p.m.: It isn't clear if Former Sheriff Terry Maketa will be retried for four charges the jury was hung on in his corruption case after he was acquitted of three charges on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old former lawman is accused of trying to undermine the credibility of three deputies and threatening to terminate a $5.3 million contract with the jail's health provider if it did not fire an employee who refused to support then-Undersheriff Paula Presley's candidacy to succeed him.

“There’s very little I can say at this point just because of the split verdict," said lead prosecutor Mark Hurlbert, the assistant district attorney in the 18th Judicial District. "I can say that we are disappointed in the not guilty verdicts, but I also have to tell you that I respect, and certainly honor, the hard work that these jurors put into it.”

The jury ruled or was hung on the following charges:

*Extortion -Hung

*Extortion unlawful act - Hung

*Conspiracy to commit extortion - Hung

*Tampering with a witness or victim - Not Guilty

*Conspiracy to commit tampering with a witness or victim - Not Guilty

*First-degree criminal misconduct (as to Kull) - Not Guilty

*First-degree criminal misconduct - Hung

The judge called a partial mistrial and set up a conference for July 17 to discuss the next steps.

"Twelve jurors could not unanimously accept the prosecution's case, and that's all I'm going to say," said Maketa immediately after the trial. "Now we're [he and his family] going to go home and spend some peaceful time together."

11:51 a.m.: The judge presiding over the Terry Maketa trial has agreed to deliver modified Allen instructions to the jury.

This is a red flag that jurors are struggling to agree and may be deadlocked, says Lance Benzel with 11 News' media partners The Gazette.




This comes after jurors submitted a third question to the judge.

11:12 a.m.: There are early indications jurors could be deadlocked as they work to reach a verdict for or against former Sheriff Terry Maketa.

The prosecution and defense briefly went into the courtroom Tuesday morning to confer with the judge after receiving a question from the jury. No question was read out loud, but after reading papers given to him by the lawyers, the judge mentioned a "modified Allen instruction."


The prosecution argued that it wasn't time for that, and the judge agreed.


8:08 a.m.: Jury deliberations will resume at 8:30 Tuesday morning.

11 News will be at the courthouse until the verdict is ready. Keep checking here and our social media pages for updates.

_________________________________
DAY 8 (7/10):

The fate of one-time El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is now in the hands of the jurors.

The 52-year-old former lawman is accused of trying to undermine the credibility of three deputies and threatening to terminate a $5.3 million contract with the jail's health provider if it did not fire an employee who refused to support then-Undersheriff Paula Presley's candidacy to succeed him.

In closing statements the prosecution and defense each had one hour to present their sides.

Prosecutors closed by stating that this case is about Maketa, and the power that was given to him by the people of El Paso County. Prosecutors believe Maketa abused that power, impacting all 800 employees who worked for the sheriff's office at that time. Prosecutors also say Maketa and others coerced a woman involved in a domestic dispute with a deputy to recant her story so the deputy could keep his job.

Maketa's attorneys argued that he should not be found guilty of any of these allegations. Before resting, the defense said Maketa has 12 years of effective supervision, responsibility and power.

At about 5:15 p.m. the jurors went home for the night. Deliberations are scheduled to resume at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Before closing statements, several witnesses called by the defense took the stand Monday.

Most of the cross-examination involved the missing Elder file, which accounts for two misdemeanor charges out of former Sheriff Maketa's seven counts. The file reportedly investigated current El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder.

Witnesses were questioned on the results and policies for the lie detector tests used on suspects for the missing file, although the test results are not admissible in court.

Check back for updates as the closings begin.

__________________________________
DAY 7 (7/7):

Prosecutors on Friday called their final witness against ex-Sheriff Terry Maketa - a former confidant whose allegations could be considered the closest thing to a smoking gun in the corruption trial.

Jacqueline Kirby, the sheriff's executive assistant for a decade, was revealed as the source of the claims that Maketa and his second-in-command, Undersheriff Paula Presley, were in possession of the so-called Elder file even as they accused several deputies of stealing it.

She described a February 2013 meeting at the Sheriff's Office at which Maketa and Presley were discussing a disciplinary file belonging to then-sheriff's candidate Bill Elder that went missing from a locked Internal Affairs room two months earlier.

"He looked at the undersheriff and said, 'You need to bring me the file,'" Kirby recalled on the stand. "Undersheriff Presley said, 'I'm going to have to go home and get it.' And he said, 'Well, that's what you need to do.'"

Hours later, Kirby walked past Maketa's office and saw him and Presley going through an "old banker's box" containing multiple files, she said. Presley closed the office door as Kirby passed, and she didn't get a look at the records.

In a corruption case steeped in nuance and conflicting stories, Kirby's testimony may be the prosecution's best chance at convincing jurors that Maketa knowingly maneuvered to destroy the careers of deputies who had crossed him under the false pretense they had taken the file.

Whether the bombshell actually landed could become clear by early next week. The case is expected to proceed to closing arguments, then go to the jury for deliberations, as early as Monday afternoon. Maketa, 52, has yet to announce whether he will testify. He faces seven counts, including four felonies, on allegations that he resorted to extortion, witness tampering and other crimes during his troubled third term in office.

The defense, led by Denver attorney Pamela Mackey, moved swiftly to remove the sting from Kirby's claims by suggesting that she changed her story before trial to exaggerate the strength of the evidence against Maketa.

During cross-examination, Mackey cited a 2015 interview with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in which Kirby allowed for the possibility she could have been wrong about the closed-door meeting with Maketa and Presley.

In that interview, Kirby said if Maketa and Presley weren't discussing the Elder file, "it sure had something to do with it."

On the stand, Kirby stood her ground: "As far as I understood, it was the missing Elder file."

The defense also emphasized testimony by sheriff's Cmdr. Jeff Kramer, who attended the same meeting.

Kramer recalled Maketa and Presley referring to disciplinary records of some kind involving Elder, but said it wasn't made clear if the two were discussing the Elder file - an Internal Affairs report said to be up to 2 inches thick.

Another person said to be at the meeting, Lt. Joseph Roybal, said he had no recollection of being there. Testimony by Roybal and Kramer seemed to challenge Kirby's recollection that the two of them looked at her in shock after Presley's apparent admission.

Click to read more from our partners at The Gazette

___________________________
DAY 6 (7/6):

Former Sheriff Maketa was accused of trying to compile a hit list by a senior deputy district attorney who took the witness stand Thursday.

Amy Fitch was responsible for keeping a record for the DA's office of law enforcement accused of a crime or caught in lie. The record, known as the "Brady List," is a public record.

The prosecution spent a lot of time Thursday on the Brady List, building a case that Maketa was vindictive and eager to blacklist his enemies. Fitch testified that she recognized names submitted by Maketa as people who had submitted complaints against him, at least according to media coverage.

"It was a huge red flag when we saw that. My initial thought was, 'It's a hit list.'"

Two of the names came up on day five of the trial when a former internal affairs employee testified she had been ordered to interrogate known supporters of Bill Elder over his missing employee file. A third was contemplating a run for sheriff against Maketa's co-defendant Paula Presley, the undersheriff at the time.

Maketa's attorneys argued that the Brady List memo had been put together by EPSO's attorney based on audit by a sheriff's lieutenant, not Maketa himself. The defense also suggested everyone on that list had performance problems separate from any possible friction with Maketa.

Read more about day six by clicking here.

Follow along with day seven by reading live tweets from the courtroom here.

_________________________________
DAY 5 (7/5):

5 p.m.: Under cross-examination Wednesday, key prosecution witness Lt. Cheryl Peck acknowledged she told three commanders about the missing Bill Elder employee file, then later lied about it.

Terry Maketa's lawyers also pointed out that there was a master key to the room where the file was kept that anybody could grab -- including Elder supporters. Excerpts from the cross-examination are below.












1 p.m.: Court resumed Wednesday after a brief break for the Fourth of July holiday with a bombshell accusation that the ex-sheriff had wanted to knock his successor out of the 2014 election.

Lt. Cheryl Peck, once with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs Unit, testified Wednesday morning that Maketa called then-candidate Bill Elder sneaky, dirty and crooked, and wanted to keep him out of the race for sheriff.

The allegation came out during testimony about Elder's missing employee file, whose disappearance Peck said she recorded in 2013. Maketa and former Undersheriff Paula Presley allegedly grilled several Elder supporters over the missing file, accusing them of stealing it to help him. The 2016 indictment suggested Presley was actually the one to remove the file.

Click here for more on the missing Elder file

Peck testified that the former undersheriff seemed underwhelmed that the file was stolen -- a stark contrast to her usual temperament.

"We expected a big reaction, because that’s how the undersheriff usually reacted to things," Peck said.

But months later, the missing file came back up when Maketa asked her to investigate two employees -- both known Elder supporters -- over concerns they were speaking about internal affairs to Elder and outside parties. Peck also claimed Maketa ordered her to conduct media interviews so he could combat Elder's claim that he had never been the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation.

Maketa clearly had it out for Elder and the investigation into the file appeared to be nothing more than a witch hunt with the goal of tainting his name, Peck alleged. During a later conversation with Maketa, Peck testified that he told her, "if everything went the way he wanted it to go, then the media and community would see that Bill Elder was crooked and dirty and it would knock him out of the election for sheriff."

Peck told the courtroom she was never able to tie the employees to the missing file, but that Maketa still had her interview them multiple times. Both employees eventually resigned but were rehired by Elder.




Maketa then claimed Peck had shown him the Elder file in late 2012 or early 2013.

"He was saying it like he wanted me to agree with him. I told him I had never brought him the file."

When Peck disagreed, she told the courtroom Maketa suggested she had given someone else the file who showed him. Peck said she told the then-sheriff that she knew she hadn't.

Peck said she was moved out of internal affairs within months of that conversation.

Follow live tweets from the courtroom here.

_______________________________
DAY 4 (6/30):

The fourth day of court for former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa began Friday morning. 11 News partner, The Gazette, has been live-tweeting the trial. Those tweets can be found at the bottom of this article.

The fourth day began with the remaining cross-examination of Carl Anderson. As stated in Thursday's update, during the incident in 2013, he worked at human resources for Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc. or CHC. He essentially held a position at the corporate level. His involvement relates to Maketa's extortion charge. He was one of two CHC employees called to a September 16, 2013 meeting with Maketa and Presley. The other person called to the meeting by Maketa was Chris Capoot, who was the owner of Correctional Healthcare Management, which later formed CHC. It was at that meeting, where Maketa is accused of giving them the two options of firing Habert or their medical contract with the jail would be terminated.

Before the meeting, Anderson stated he had never heard of any previous issues with Habert.

"It kind of threw us into somewhat of a tailspin," Anderson stated. "I did not have administrative reason to make a move in that position."

Following the meeting, Anderson placed Habert on suspension in late September or early October, he stated, per Maketa's alleged ultimatum.

Once the defense began the cross-examination of Anderson, they continued to state the reasoning for Habert's termination was that she was in fact, a problem employee.

______________________________________
DAY 3 (6/29):

6 p.m.: Half of the felony charges former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is facing come from a 2013 alleged incident, where he reportedly told a domestic violence victim to recant her story. That woman has been identified as Kelli McMahan, formerly known as Kelli Trull. At the time, she worked at the jail as a nurse.

Maketa is charged with seven counts. Four are felony charges, including extortion. In the alleged incident involving McMahan, Maketa is charged with witness intimidation and official misconduct. It was all allegedly to protect McMahan's boyfriend, Travis Garretson, who was an El Paso County sheriff's deputy at the time. McMahan took the stand as the third witness following opening statements on Thursday.

Prosecutors said during the opening statements, Maketa exercised his power of authority, while a defense attorney went after the prosecution's witness, Wendy Habert as a problem employee. The defense stated Maketa had several decisions to make as the sheriff, and what he did in 2013 was not extortion.

In total, four witnesses were called Thursday.

Wendy Habert, the first witness, oversaw a medical contract as an administrator at the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) for Correctional Healthcare Companies (CHC) while Maketa was sheriff. She worked there for 2 1/2 years before she was terminated. The medical contract she oversaw is the contract in question, where Maketa is charged with extortion. He's accused of giving an ultimatum to CHC after becoming "upset" with Habert -- either get rid of Habert, or he'd cancel the jail's contract with CHC. The contract was worth roughly $5.1 million annually.

Maketa reportedly became upset with Habert when she completed a memorandum report to the second witness called Thursday, Joe Breister. He was the bureau chief in 2013, where he oversaw the jail. Currently, Breister serves as the undersheriff for El Paso County. He was the person Habert went to with any issues.

The report Habert filed to Breister involved a commander at the jail, John Molatch. In court, she testified that in September 2013, Molatch asked her if she ever made pornography videos, or walked around naked in her house. Habert said she was shocked and appalled at the comment, and did not immediately report the incident because she was embarrassed. She claimed it wasn't until a few days later when Molatch allegedly sexually harassed another employee that she decided to report it to Breister on September 12, 2013.

Habert was then called into Breister's office. Molatch also attended the meeting, with the approval of Habert. He reportedly apologized, but Habert said she remained offended, according to the defense. Following that meeting, Breister described the atmosphere as, “Very hostile, very uneasy, very intimidating.”

Maketa was reportedly upset when he found out about the report, along with her alleged involvement in the domestic violence incident that happened the month before. He was also reportedly upset that Habert refused to run former Undersheriff Paula Presley's campaign for sheriff. Presley ultimately decided not to run.

Before the report, Habert said she thought she was on great terms with Maketa. She said she previously ran his campaign for sheriff and she developed such a wonderful friendship, that he also walked her down the aisle during her wedding. He allegedly called Habert on the phone, and told her what she did was inappropriate and that he was disappointed. She acknowledged she confronted Maketa by returning his call and cursing at him.

Following Habert's nearly two-and-a-half hours-long cross-examination, Breister was called as the next witness. He detailed his involvement in the domestic violence issue involving McMahan. It was previously explained in court that Habert served as McMahan's supervisor, and was one of the few people McMahan trusted.

On August 13, 2013, Breister received a call from a close friend and coworker of McMahan, Michelle Mackey. She was the first to report the domestic violence between McMahan and her boyfriend, Garretson. It was at that time, Breister decided he needed to call McMahan in his office to talk about the incident. McMahan asked for Habert's support to walk her to Breister's office to tell her story as a victim. That incident led to an additional interview involving Detective Lisa Kaiser at the sheriff's office. During cross-examination, he also detailed his recollection of the sexual harassment meeting between Habert and Molatch.

The third witness, McMahan, was soon after called to the stand. She was cross-examined for hours. McMahan was questioned about the domestic violence incident. She said the altercation happened August 12, 2013, stating they were drinking Crown Royal whisky. She disclosed the close relationship between Garretson and Maketa, then said Garretson was even closer friends with Maketa's son. She says she ended up driving away, admittedly while drunk, to Mackey's house, who as previously stated, first made the report of the violence to Breister. The next day on August 12, 2013, is when McMahan was called to Breister's office.

Maketa later found out about the incident. McMahan said she overheard Garretson on the phone one month later on September 11, 2013. That was after the Colorado Bureau of Investigation became involved in the investigation and spoke several times with McMahan. Garretson handed the phone to her, where Maketa was on the other line. He's accused of telling her over the phone that if she changed and recanted her story, Garretson may get to keep his job. She was told to expect a call that night to discuss when and where to take back her story.

Soon after, McMahan received a call from Presley. She was told by Presley that she would need to come in the next day on September 12 for an interview with Detective Kaiser at the sheriff's office. McMahan was told not to tell anyone about the plan.

The defense spent their cross examination on Thursday trying to highlight the changes in her recollection of the story over the years.

Before the start of the interview with Kaiser, she told the detective she wanted to come back in and fix what happened -- to tell the "truth," that the domestic violence incident was indeed her own fault. McMahan asked Habert for a ride to the sheriff's office from the jail for the interview, saying she wasn't sure on how to get there and did not want to drive herself. She said Habert just kept repeating to "tell the truth."

"Maketa told me he had a way to get this off of Travis," said McMahan while on the stand. "If I could come down and change my story and tell them that it was mainly me, I was the instigator and I was the one that started everything."

McMahan stated she told Kaiser in new interview, “I misrepresented Travis in first interview and I wanted to clear things up. I drank so much, I was heated and I’m the one who instigated it and I’m the reason it all happened.” When asked by the prosecution if that was the truth, she said no. They asked McMahan on the stand if she would have gone back to the second interview and said that if it wasn't for the conversations with Maketa and Presley. She stated, "No."

Once she finished the interview, Kaiser told her she would be placed under arrest for harassment and DUI. She was put on paid leave, then ultimately fired.

She said Thursday that during the call with Presley, she was told she would not get in trouble and Maketa would "handle it."

"So, when she arrested you, you didn't tell her about the promises you now say were made to you?," asked defense attorney Pamela Mackey.

"I was going to go through the motions and I just assumed I was going to be out of there in no time," responded McMahan.

The case against her was eventually dropped. The defense says over the years, McMahan had other interviews with law enforcement about the incident, but record show she never mentioned Maketa asking her to change the story to law enforcement, however she admitted to telling a few people at the time, including Habert.

She claimed she only told law enforcement after she and Garretson were no longer in a relationship. Nearly three years ago, McMahan moved to Alabama, soon after she was fired from the jail. She now resides with her current boyfriend of two years.

About 10 minutes before the end of the court day, the fourth witness was called to the stand, Carl Anderson. Anderson currently works as a registered nurse and administrative manager. During the incident in 2013, he worked for human resources for CHC. He essentially held a position at the corporate level. His involvement relates to Maketa's extortion charge. He was one of two CHC employees called to a meeting with Maketa and Presley. It was at that meeting, where Maketa is accused of giving them the two options of firing Habert or their medical contract with the jail would be terminated.

The day wrapped up amid the cross-examination of Anderson.

9:30 a.m.: Attorneys for both sides presented their opening statements for and against ex-Sheriff Terry Maketa as his trial formally got underway Thursday morning.

It's about the exercise of power -- and whether it was lawful, prosecutor Chris Wilcox told jurors, painting a portrait of a man consumed by the authority mantle of sheriff gave him. Wilcox told jurors Maketa retaliated against employees he believed crossed him and coerced a domestic violence victim to drop charges against her boyfriend, an El Paso County deputy; that he dangled the threat of terminating a jail health care contract unless the contractor fired one of his enemies.

Maketa never made a decision without considering the safety of the citizens in El Paso County, defense attorney Pam Mackey countered. The enemy the health care contractor was asked to fire? A problem employee who needed to be let go. The domestic violence victim? Admitted she was partially at fault for the drunken brawl, and claims she was coerced didn't emerge until a year later.

"You will hear that story has many, many versions," Mackey said.

After opening statements, the first witness was called to stand: Wendy Habert, the woman Maketa allegedly demanded be fired if he was to agree to a health care contract.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for live tweets from the trial.

____________________________________
DAY 2 (6/28)

3:20 p.m.: The jury has been seated in a corruption case against ex-Sheriff Terry Maketa.

The judge swore in the jury of seven men and seven women Wednesday afternoon. The panel includes 12 jurors and two alternates, in case of emergencies.

Opening statements for the trial set for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. Each side has requested 30 minutes for an opening statement.

Defense attorney Pam Mackey told the judge Tuesday that she believed the jury pool had been exposed to too much negative news coverage over the ex-sheriff to give him a fair trial. But, several jurors Wednesday expressed only admiration for Maketa, who was a prominent figure before his scandal-ridden final months in office.

"A couple of the themes that we've been hearing in jury selection is there are a lot of people in this community who still believe in Terry Maketa," said Lance Benzel with our news partners The Gazette, the only reporter allowed in during jury selection due to lack of room. "Several potential jurors talked about him as sort of a city presence during the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires.

"One man who was being interviewed today actually broke down in tears while talking about his admiration for Maketa. He said that he stands by Maketa, that he believes in what Maketa believes, and he grew tearful while describing how it was Maketa him his first concealed carry permit."

Maketa is facing seven counts, four being felonies. If he's found guilty, he could see prison time.

8:45 a.m.: The judge in the Terry Maketa case said Wednesday he agreed to toss out two of the nine counts the former sheriff is facing.

The Denver Post reported last week that prosecutors had asked for the second-degree kidnapping and false imprisonment charges to be dropped, but the district attorney's office was unable to comment at the time on whether the charges had formally been dismissed.

In explaining why the prosecution had requested the counts be thrown out, lead prosecutor Mark Hurlbert said in court Wednesday that there were conflicting witnesses, and their team was unable to meet the standard of reasonable doubt because of that.

"We have two witnesses who are very certain that two very different things happened," he said.

Maketa still faces charges of extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, tampering with a witness or victim, conspiracy to commit tampering with a witness or victim, official misconduct, and first-degree criminal misconduct.

Day two of jury selection began with arguing of motions between the two sides before selection resumes later in the morning. Defense attorney Pamela Mackey asked the judge to bar testimony by witnesses from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, citing a vindictive, "toxic" environment; and also asked the judge to consider hearing some counts at a separate trial.

Hulbert objected to both motions.

The judge said he would allow the testimony from EPSO employees because it could explain why people acted on threats.
__________________________________
DAY 1 (6/27):

Ex-Sheriff Terry Maketa is standing trial one year after he was indicted by a grand jury on allegations of coercing a woman to recant testimony and abuse of power, among others.

A few hours into jury selection Tuesday his defense attorney, Pamela Mackey, asked the judge to move the trial to a different area, claiming too many potential jurors already know about the case.

The judge denied the request, saying a "vast majority" of potential jurors have no opinion. Maketa's legal team had previously made -- and was subsequently denied -- the same request in March.

Of the 90 potential jurors, 73 percent said they were exposed to pre-trial publicity.

“Interestingly, the defense said that pre-trial questionnaires indicated that 22 perspective jurors said they’d already made up their minds and believe that Terry Maketa is guilty," said reporter Lance Benzel with 11 News partner The Gazette. "They were very likely among the 27 who were dismissed for the day.”

It's been a long fall for the former El Paso County sheriff since the heights he reached early in the decade, winning re-election handily and appearing as a voice of calm during the Black Forest Fire. The same year as the fire, he was among a group of state sheriffs publicly battling the governor over new gun control measures and appeared poised to rise further in the Republican party.

One year later, things spun dramatically for the sheriff when allegations of affairs with subordinates and abusive treatment of employees came to light Our partners at The Gazette were the first to obtain complaints by Maketa's three top commanders, who accused the sheriff of preferential treatment to women with whom he had sexual relationships, including promotions and pay raises; of violating the civil rights of his employees and creating a hostile work environment; throwing his weight around to intimidate coworkers into staying quiet over misdeeds; and misusing public funds, among other allegations. An effort to recall Maketa, though unsuccessful, received ample public support, and the sheriff ultimately stepped down two weeks before his term ended.

In May 2016, Maketa turned himself in to authorities in Gilpin County, Colorado after he was indicted on the following charges: extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, tampering with a witness or victim, conspiracy to commit tampering with a witness or victim, second-degree kidnapping, false imprisonment, and first-degree official misconduct. Former Undersheriff Paula Presley and former Commander John San Agustin were indicted at the same time.

Maketa has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Defense attorney Mackey argued Tuesday the potential jurors exposed to pre-trial media were "tainted." Mackey, whose high-profile client roster includes former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, brought up the 2004 Bryant sex assault case as an example of the hurdle Maketa was facing by being tried in the county he served in.

In the Bryant case, there was nowhere to go because it was a national story, Mackey told the judge, likening it to the "intense" coverage Maketa had faced in the Springs.

The Denver Post reported last week that prosecutors have asked to dismiss two of the nine criminal charges against Maketa, specifically the charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment. We reached out to District Attorney George Brauchler's office, but they said since there's a gag order on the case, they could not comment. It's not clear if a judge has formally dismissed those charges.

By the end of the first day of trial Tuesday, 27 jurors were dismissed. Most of the remaining jurors will be individually interviewed, a process that will likely last at least through Wednesday.

“Based on what I heard in court, it sounds like getting a jury tomorrow [Wednesday] will be a push," said Benzel. "It’s possible to see a jury selection continue into Thursday.”

The second day of trial will begin Wednesday morning with the judge addressing pending motions. What those motions are exactly, is unclear since court papers are sealed. Following the motions, the interviews will continue.