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Weather Delays Cal Harris Trial, Defense Files Mistrial Motion

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The Cal Harris trial continues but hits another road block today. Harris is charged with second degree murder in the September 2001 disappearance of his wife Michele Harris.

Weather causes another delay in the Cal Harris murder trial, but it doesn't postpone Harris' defense team from continuing to argue for a mistrial--this time in a written motion to Judge George Bartlett.

On Thursday after the prosecution delivered its opening arguments, Harris' defense team had verbally motioned for a mistrial.

In the document the defense submitted to the court today, Harris' defense team states that the prosecution's opening was prejudicial to the defense and that Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin was argumentative.

The defense claims it's credibility has been damaged by a martin made when he said: "During the course of this trial you may be confronted with red herrings and shiny objects as alternatives to the defendant having murdered his wife."

Harris' defense says that this statement implies that this was an intentional way for the prosecution to say to jurors that they should view all potential defenses for Mr. Harris as deceptive. Harris' attorneys also claim that Martin used hearsay evidence to prove fact, when Martin told the jury that Mr. Harris threatened to harm Mrs. Harris and therefore did harm Mrs. Harris.

The defense says that this statement was made by Martin to prove truth, when hearsay evidence can only be used to prove a defendant's state of mind. Martin maintained to the judge that he never went outside the bounds of what was allowed by the court, saying that the defense mischaracterized his opening statements, and that Harris' attorneys only picked "snippets" of his argument to support theirs.

Martin stressed that Judge Bartlett already ruled against the verbal motion for mistrial, saying Martin did not make any errors at that time.

Judge Bartlett is reviewing this motion and will have a decision tomorrow morning. If he decides not to grant the motion, he has asked the defense for any additions they may have when he instructs the jury on what to disregard, if anything at all.
Court reconvenes tomorrow at 9:30 AM.