Members of the Singer clan suffered yet another courtroom setback Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to listen to an appeal by Hans Benjamin Singer of his civil contempt of court during the Singer-Swapp prosecutions.
The contempt was triggered by Singer's refusal to testify before the federal grand jury in connection with the case.Steve Kuhnhausen, Singer's attorney, said the Supreme Court gave no grounds for its rejection, which lets stand an earlier U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Denver, ruling upholding the contempt of court. In its decision, the Circuit Court affirmed that any religious prohibition against testifying before a grand jury is outweighed by the government's need to investigate and punish crime.
Singer, the son of Vickie and the late John Singer, was given immunity from prosecution in the case, but he still refused to testify on the grounds that a parent-child privilege exists that allowed him not to speak against his mother.
Among other things, he based his refusal on religious grounds. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Green held him in contempt of court and ordered him incarcerated. He was later released and returned home May 25.
Kuhnhausen said despite the highest court's ruling, no one knows for sure what Benjamin may say on the witness stand. Kuhnhausen speculated that the young Singer's testimony could even help mitigate charges brought against Singer family members.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Lambert said the federal government opposed Benjamin Singer's appeal, believing it was not proper. "It's not surprising that the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal of the case," Lambert said.