Released video shows emotional Jeffs in jail

Published: Thursday, Nov. 8 2007 12:00 a.m. MST

ST. GEORGE — As tapes of Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs' jailhouse conversations are made public, law enforcement and lawyers are watching and listening.

The tapes could become evidence in Jeffs' upcoming criminal case and could open the door to more investigations into the FLDS leader.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said his office continues to gather evidence but would not say if there is a new criminal probe.

"We still talk to people," he told the Deseret Morning News on Wednesday. "I know one of my criminal investigators spoke to a witness yesterday."

On Wednesday, the Washington County Attorney's Office released a videotape of Jeffs' jailhouse conversation with his brother, Nephi, in response to a public records request by news media outlets.

On the DVD provided Wednesday, Jeffs appeared thin and pale during a videotaped conversation with his brother, Nephi, who took

notes of his brother's comments. At one point, while dictating advice to his followers, Jeffs stopped talking and appeared to become nearly motionless while still holding the phone to his ear.

His brother waited patiently as Jeffs sat upright, blinking and swaying slightly. At one point, Jeffs removes the phone from his ear and appears to be frustrated, then places it back to his right ear, swaying before becoming motionless again as Nephi continues to watch and wait.

The footage, while grainy and a little dark, appears to show Jeffs struggling with his emotions during the nearly 13-minute-long period of silence. Sounds of other jail activities can be heard in the background while Jeffs mutely holds the phone to his ear. Nephi never takes his eyes off his brother during this time.

Several times in the video, Jeffs appears to be mouthing soundless words into the phone. He eventually says, '"Thank you, good-bye," and Nephi echoes his words, adding, "We love you. Just anxious to be a strength in any way," but neither brother hangs up the phone.

Nephi tells Jeffs he feels privileged to be in his presence, which leads Jeffs to thank his brother, smile and hang up the phone. But Jeffs again picks the phone up and appears to be mouthing soundless words. He hangs up the phone but doesn't let go of it and sits quietly, blinking, as Nephi waits.

Once again, Jeffs puts the phone to his ear and appears to be mouthing something, although he says nothing out loud. Eventually, Jeffs asks Nephi to write his words down, "A message from (Jeffs sighs) your God of Heaven, through his former servant, who is not his servant, that the messages I gave yesterday were true, except for the part about being the most wickedest man on the face of the Earth since Adam's time. That part was from the powers of the Evil One that were trying to influence me."

The conversation again is halted as Jeffs holds the phone and appears to be speaking silently to himself. At this point Jeffs tells Nephi he was not the prophet and was never the prophet and to send that message to all the priesthood people wherever they are and to allow anyone to see the video that was being recorded.

Jeffs said he "yearns for everyone's forgiveness for his aspiring and selfish way of life," adding he "deceived the elect and was the most wicked man on the face of the Earth in this last dispensation."

"Farewell, all of you," Jeffs said, blinking. "For the Lord has promised that I would have a place in the Telestial Kingdom of God if I had my brother Nephi write these words down."

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