Whether he testifies

Defense lawyer Douglas Brannon announces to the court this morning whether his client, James Bartee, will take the stand in his own defense. If not, it appears, all testimony will have been completed in this week’s trial, unless the prosecution presents a final witness or two. At mid day yesterday, the prosecution rested and the defense began calling witnesses to demonstrate that when, in their presence, they never heard Bartee say he wanted a retired judge kidnapped. The Bartee side offered witnesses, such as Glenn Michael Eades, say they heard Nick Blackwell over Bartee’s speaker phone ask Bartee for more money and Bartee reply he was not going to lend Blackwell any more money. On cross-examinaton, Deputy Solicitor Wagner displayed a listing of Blackwell generated phone calls that particular day which did not show the call in question. Defense lawyer Brannon responded by suggesting the call could have been made from another telephone. The jury this week heard conflicting testimony as to whether amounts of money, from $150 to $200, were loans or whether they were money to buy materials to help bring about the kidnapping of the retired judge, Jimmy Williams. Other Bartee witnesses, such as Rick Sanders, said they were present in Bartee’s Aikido studio one day when Blackwell exhibited boisterous and disruptive behavior in earshot of the self defense class.