Jodi Arias Trial: Five Things to Watch for Between Now and July 18
Image: Lifetime network
Jodi Arias coverage has been in the doldrums since the May 23 non-decision by the jury on the death penalty.
Some news media outlets are digging up crumbs leftover from the trial. Nancy Grace and CNN resorted to interviewing Arias' fellow jail inmates; Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced last month that Arias would no longer be allowed to speak to the media.
That's as big a relief to most thinking people as it is a ratings disaster for HLN and other news outlets that relied on the Arias trial to sell ads.
For those with AOD, Arias Obsession Disorder, (we've been trying to shake a mild case ourselves since parachuting into the trial coverage in early February...), the news gap has been somewhat startling. No new details forthcoming about what Travis Alexander wanted to do with Arias, no venom-filled barbs from Juan Martinez -- no new statements by Arias at all? Even Arias' Twitter account has been silent lately, with no tweets since 9:59 a.m. on May 29.
Fortunately, more coverage is coming up. Here are five things to watch out for between now and July 18, the date scheduled for a retrial of the penalty phase:
Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander
5. A delay. As the Maricopa County Superior Court's website shows, a status conference is still scheduled to be held on June 20. That's when the lawyers on both sides will get together to talk about their preparations for the upcoming new penalty phase, which will involve the convening of a new jury. Prosecutor Juan Martinez doesn't want a delay. Paperwork he filed last week shows that all he's asking for is to call the same witnesses he called during the trial. Besides, he doesn't seem like a guy who has anything better to do this summer.
Look for some sort of rescheduling request from defense lawyers Jennifer Willmott, Kirk Nurmi, or Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens, who -- like most normal folk -- will be itching to spend as much time as possible in San Diego or somewhere else that's not roasting at 110-plus.
4. Political grandstanding by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who wants people to believe he's not a politician. Montgomery must decide whether or not to pursue the death penalty, and so far, he's moving forward. But would he keep trying to execute Arias if the victim's family decides to oppose continuing this circus?
More than anything, the answer probably depends on what Montgomery believes his right-wing constituents want, and what they might think if he should lose.
Tonia Raymonde plays Jodi Arias in an upcoming TV movie about the 2008 murder case.
Image: Lifetime network
3. Speaking of the county's chief publicity hound, Arpaio, it's hard to imagine what he gets out of keeping Arias gagged until July 18. He'll get more headlines if he loosens her leash again but puts his own conditions on the interview. Lisa Allen and his crack news media team will alert him to when this might make the biggest splash, or the biggest diversion from anti-Arpaio news.
2. Some kind of publicity stunt by Arias. She must be dying for more airtime, now that she's achieved an Amanda Byrnes level of simultaneous adoration and hatred. The sheriff has her under wraps until he decides otherwise.
But there are ways to get the media's attention even while wearing Arpaio's gag. She could throw her jail slop at a guard in protest of its foulness, like Rapper DMX did in 2009. She could go on a hunger strike. She could make an intentionally half-assed attempt at suicide. She could get into trouble for something more than hiding anti-acne cream in her cell.
Or maybe she'll just put out a cryptic tweet, knowing that in 140 characters or less, she'll generate hundreds of Internet headlines. 1. The Arias movie on Lifetime, set to air June 22. Yes, it looks like it's going to suck. But we'll watch at least part of it.
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