18 November 2013
By Barbara Lawrence
Trial No. 2 for Army Master Sergeant CJ Grisham begins this Monday morning in Temple, Texas. The once smugly confident Master Sergeant has been floundering as his once cozy relationship with his legal team turns cold.
His first attorney quit the case without warning or explanation. His second attorney, Blue Rannefeld, proved awkwardly incompetent in the first trial, to which I and various news outlets were witness.
This odd misdemeanor trial and the Army soldier’s escalating public drama in defiance of UCMJ regulations continues to garner national news at outlets such as the New York Times and Fox News. Only capital murder trials gain this much attention.
Despite the pressing need to prepare for trial quickly, Grisham defense attorney Blue Rannefeld asked for a continuance just last week, days before the trial, because Rannefeld had not paid $1,250 to obtain transcripts from the first trial, which ended in a hung jury, 5:1 in favor of conviction.
How is it that Grisham had raised more than $50,000 in donations for his own defense, and that his legal representation was covered “up to $1,000,000”, nobody produced the $1,250?
Where did the $50,000 go? At least part of it was likely spent by Grisham and his wife Emily at an exclusive bed & breakfast, the Cedar Rock Inn in Tulsa.
Today, Grisham is left publicly panicking before Trial No. 2 as his penchant for provoking arrest has earned the ire of Larry Kleiberg, the director of the National Association For Legal Gun Defense. The NAFLGD footed the bill for the first trial. Grisham is learning the hard way that he should have spent some of his $50,000 on a genuine criminal defense attorney.
Meanwhile, on the eve of Trial No.2, Master Sergeant Grisham was again arrested in Austin, Texas, where he was caught on video cursing and provoking officers as they cuffed him behind his back. He challenged an officer who cuffed him, asking “Do you realize that I am a veteran here!?” To which the officer replied, “Me too.” Video:
Grisham staged his latest arrest on Veterans Day.
Grisham tweeted frantically for his own expert witness just three days before trial, and was informed by Kleiberg that his most recent arrest in Austin on November 11 for “criminal trespass” will not be represented by the NAFLGD.
Instead of standing by Grisham, Kleiberg declined to pay for critical trial witness transcripts from Trial No. 1 and removed Grisham from the NAFLGD website. Grisham supporters have responded with an attack on NAFLGD, that has defended him in the past without charge.
Grisham’s attorney, Blue Rannefeld, will go into trial with at least one hand that he tied behind his own back.
The charge is “interfering with the duties of a public servant”, a charge incurred back on March 16.
I am in Temple, Texas, and will be covering the second trial.
The story of the first trial can be found here in “The Trial That Won’t Go Away”