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Jeffs ex-bodyguard claims FLDS leader retaliation

Published: Friday, July 31 2015 6:11 p.m. MDT

FILE - This Aug. 5, 2011 file photo shows Willie Jessop, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and follower of Warren Jeffs, walking to the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo, Texas. (San Angelo Standard-Times, Patrick Dove, File, Associated Press) FILE - This Aug. 5, 2011 file photo shows Willie Jessop, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and follower of Warren Jeffs, walking to the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo, Texas. (San Angelo Standard-Times, Patrick Dove, File, Associated Press)

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - A former bodyguard and spokesman for polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs has filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit claiming church leaders ruined his business after he had a falling-out with Jeffs.

Attorneys for 43-year-old William "Willie" Jessop filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking more than $57 million in damages and at least $25 million in punitive damages from leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The lawsuit names imprisoned leader Jeffs, his brother Lyle Jeffs, and two dozen other people or organizations who allegedly worked to arrange a burglary at Jessop's Hildale-area excavation business and ranch, and to harass his family.

Jessop attorney Mark James tells The Spectrum that defendants had not yet been served the lawsuit as of Thursday. Media calls to FLDS leaders were not returned Thursday.

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