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Court prepares to try ex-principal of sexual abuse

The former principal of Snake River Junior High School is scheduled to face a jury next month, but an agreement may be in the works.

Christopher Cox, 39, is charged with three counts of sex abuse of a minor child under 16 — one of his former students. Each count carries up to 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

On Monday, during a pretrial conference, the courtroom buzzed with discussion of a possible plea agreement for Cox, who is accused of carrying on a physical relationship with a 14-year-old former student.

Before Monday, the case was fully expected to go to trial. That expectation is still there — but now there is talk of a possible agreement between Cox and the state.

Because nothing has been decided, Judge Greg Moeller appeared by phone today to advise jury instructions and touch base with attorneys. Witness and evidence lists are expected by Friday.

“We’ve been discussing a resolution to this case really since the beginning. Are we closer than we were then? I think so,” said Randy Smith, Bingham County deputy prosecuting attorney. “The nature of the discussion hasn’t changed a whole lot.”

Because Cox is such a high-profile defendant, Moeller ordered 120 potential jurors be summoned, considerably more than the typical pool of about 50.

The trial is still scheduled for July 11.

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