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Elissa Wall

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff will give a deposition in a former child bride's multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Fundamentalist LDS Church and its leader, Warren Jeffs.

Shurtleff confirmed to the Deseret News on Monday that he will be deposed later this month in connection with Elissa Wall's personal injury lawsuit.

"They wanted to ask me about a meeting I had in August 2002, when a bunch of representatives of the FLDS tried to talk me out of going forward on investigations of child-bride cases," Shurtleff said Monday. "I don't know how the meeting I had comes into play, but that's what I was told they wanted to ask me about."

Wall's attorney, Roger Hoole, declined to say why exactly he needed the attorney general's testimony.

"It's going to be a very short deposition," he told the Deseret News. "I need to establish one point."

Wall was the star witness in the criminal case that led to Jeffs' conviction in Utah on charges of rape as an accomplice. Jeffs performed a marriage between the then-14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin. Jeffs is serving a pair of 5-to-life prison sentences.

In Arizona, Jeffs is facing more charges of sexual misconduct and incest, accused of performing similar child-bride marriages. Wall is a witness in one of those cases.

The time period that Shurtleff said he will be deposed about was when the state was prosecuting Rodney Holm, an FLDS member and Hildale police officer who was later convicted of unlawful sex with a 16-year-old girl who was his third wife.

Shurtleff said he will have to rely on his memory of the 2002 meeting with FLDS representatives. The investigator who sat in on the meeting died, and notes of the meeting cannot be found.

Wall's attorneys have also deposed ex-FLDS member Carolyn Jessop. She was the fourth wife of Merril Jessop, who runs the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.

The lawyers have also sought to expand Wall's lawsuit to include the United Effort Plan Trust, the real estate holdings arm of the FLDS Church, which was taken over by a judge in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court in 2005.

A tentative trial date for the personal injury lawsuit has been set for May 2009. A judge's order has set a limit on 20 depositions, each taking no more than seven hours, but unlimited document requests.

In the meantime, Wall has written an autobiography. "Stolen Innocence" is scheduled to be released in bookstores today.


E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com