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The Associated Press

KINGMAN, Ariz. - The judge overseeing the Arizona trial of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs ruled Tuesday that his defense attorneys can interview Texas law officers about their raid on a sect-owned ranch.
Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn said he wasn't convinced when prosecutors in the Jeffs' case said they weren't planning to use evidence seized when the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado was raided in April.
The judge noted that prosecutors disclosed a 23-page inventory of items from the Texas raid that the state of Arizona has reviewed.
Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith told the judge that the Texas evidence has been separated from the evidence prosecutors will use in the Arizona case, the Kingman Daily Miner reported.
The prosecutor raised concerns that interviewing the Texas authorities could hurt their cases. "We are comfortable with the cases and don't need the evidence from Texas," Smith said.
The judge granted a defense motion that allows Jeffs' attorneys to interview three Texas officials: Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran, Deputy Sheriff John Connor and Texas Ranger Brooks Long.
Conn said the three officials possess abundant material about Jeffs, The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that he leads and the participants involved in the Texas raid.
"If the Texas law enforcement officials have nothing to hide, they should have no objection to being interviewed or deposed," Conn wrote in his ruling.
Mike Piccarreta, an attorney for Jeffs, said he has 60 days to interview the three officials.
"We have wanted for months to interview these people because we think we're going to expose one of the greatest constitutional violations in recent history," he said. "We became even more concerned with what they had to hide when they wouldn't talk to us."
Smith did not immediately return a message left Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Jeffs is awaiting trial in Arizona on four counts of being an accomplice to sexual conduct with a minor. Those charges filed in 2005 stem from the marriages of two teenage girls and their adult male relatives.
Texas authorities raided the polygamous sect's ranch in April after a report that a teenage girl had been physically and sexually abused. That call is now considered a hoax, but children were separated from their families for about two months while authorities investigated.
The FLDS church believes polygamy brings glorification in heaven. The Mormon church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, renounced polygamy more than a century ago.
An estimated 37,000 self-described fundamentalist Mormons continue the practice across the intermountain Western states individually or as part of organized religious groups.
Jeffs' sect is based in the neighboring communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.

Wire Service
 

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Polygamist leader convicted of child sex abuse



By WILL WEISSERT - Associated Press | AP - 36 mins ago

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - A Texas jury convicted polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs of child sexual assault on Thursday, in a case stemming from two young followers he took as brides in what his church calls "spiritual marriages."
The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stood stone-faced as the verdict was read. Jeffs, who acted as his own attorney, stood mostly mute for his closing argument, staring at the floor, for all but a few seconds of the half hour he was allotted.
At one point he mumbled, "I am peace," and said no more. The only noise in the courtroom was the creaking of wooden benches brimming with spectators.
Jeffs, 55, had claimed his religious rights were being trampled on and that God would seek revenge if the trial continued. He now faces up to life in prison. The sentencing phase of the trial was starting after the verdict, and Texas' attorney general said it could take three days.

Polygamist leader convicted of child sex abuse - Yahoo! News
 

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Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs Gets Life in Prison for Child Sex Assaults


AP
Aug. 4: Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs walks out of the Tom Green County Courthouse with his former attorney Deric Walpole in San Angelo, Texas.

SAN ANGELO, Texas - Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for sexually assaulting two underage followers he took as brides in what his church deemed "spiritual marriages."
The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stood quietly as the decision of the Texas jury was read. He received the maximum sentence on both counts.
Prosecutors had asked the jury for the life sentence after presenting their painstaking and sometimes graphic case, and rejected Jeffs' contention that he was being persecuted for his religious beliefs.

Read more: Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs Gets Life in Prison for Child Sex Assaults - FoxNews.com
 
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