Opening statements set for Thursday in Jeffs trial

By Will Weissert

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, July 27 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

SAN ANGELO, Texas — A judge has dealt a blow to the defense of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, refusing to exclude evidence seized from his sect's West Texas compound in 2008.

The ruling Wednesday by District Judge Barbara Walther means marriage and birth records, as well as a mountain of other information, can be presented to the jury during Jeffs' trial.

Walther will hold an additional, hour-long hearing Thursday morning on whether to suppress evidence seized when Jeffs was arrested in Nevada in 2006. Then his case will immediately proceed with opening statements.

Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, faces two counts of sexual assault of a child.

His lawyers had argued the raid on the compound was based on false information, and therefore improper.

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