Cortnee Brantley trial starts in Tampa - WFLA News Channel 8

Cortnee Brantley trial starts in Tampa

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Cortnee Brantley and her attorney, Grady Irvin, headed into court today.  Photo: Jay Conner/Tampa Tribune Cortnee Brantley and her attorney, Grady Irvin, headed into court today. Photo: Jay Conner/Tampa Tribune

Cortnee Brantley was back in court Monday to face a federal charge in connection with the night two Tampa Police officers were killed in 2010.

Prosecutors say Brantley was driving the night her boyfriend Dontae Morris shot and killed Officer David Curtis and Officer Jeffrey Kocab when the couple was pulled over for a traffic stop.

Jurors could not reach a verdict in her case last summer, resulting in a mistrial. 

Brantley is charged with a little used federal charge called "misprision of a felony." Prosecutors say she knew a crime was committed, failed to report it and took steps to conceal it.

The crime they allege she did not report in this case was not the murder of the officers but the fact that Morris had a gun that, as a felon, he was not allowed to possess.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Preston said instead of calling 911 after the shooting, Brantley fled the scene and called and texted Morris with messages including "til death do us part."

Brantley's attorney Grady Irvin said Brantley wasn't trying to conceal anything, but was scared that night and went to an apartment complex where a friend lived. He said police knew who they were searching for in the murders of the two officers but wanted her to say more so they could have a witness to the crime.

A jury of five men and eight women is hearing the trial. One of the jurors will be an alternate.

During jury selection, Judge James Moody brought small groups of potential jurors into the courtroom to ask them about what they knew about the case, anticipating many would recognize the names of Brantley and Morris. Potential jurors who said they had already formed an opinion on the case were excused.

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