A lawyer for the star witness in the criminal case against Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs said her new book should not be allowed to interfere with the prosecution of her ex-husband.
In a statement to the Deseret News on Saturday, Elissa Wall's attorney, Roger Hoole, said his client maintains that Allen Steed "was both a victim of Warren Jeffs and a perpetrator of child abuse."
"Although Elissa has a First Amendment right to tell her story, Allen Steed is presumed innocent and no one familiar with 'Stolen Innocence' should be allowed on any jury in which the alleged crimes are tried," Hoole said in his statement.
Steed, 26, is charged with first-degree felony rape in his 2001 marriage to Wall, which was performed in a Nevada motel room by Jeffs. Hoole responded to a letter to prosecutors from Steed's defense attorney, who expressed concern that Wall's newly published book, "Stolen Innocence," and subsequent publicity tour will affect his client's right to a fair trial.
"I think we can anticipate that these media events as well as the book will consistently include a narrative by her in which she recounts her version of the facts of our pending case," Steed's lawyer, Jim Bradshaw, wrote.
"Stolen Innocence" hit bookstore shelves on Tuesday, detailing Wall's life in the FLDS Church, her decision to leave and testify against Jeffs.
Wall's testimony about her marriage at age 14 to her 19-year-old cousin led to Jeffs' conviction in Utah on charges of rape as an accomplice. He is serving two five-to-life sentences. Wall has also filed a civil lawsuit against Jeffs and the FLDS Church.
"Elissa Wall wrote 'Stolen Innocence' to call attention to the plight of young FLDS girls whose ability to make choices is too often lost and who are at risk of being coerced into illegal 'spiritual marriages,"' Hoole said in his statement. "Recent events in Texas highlight the importance and timeliness of her story as an FLDS girl."
Prosecutors told the Deseret News they believe Steed will get a fair trial when the time comes.
"I feel personally confidant that we'll be able to seat a fair jury and that Washington County jurors can be fair and unbiased," Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said last week, noting the same argument was raised during Jeffs' trial.
Across the border in Arizona, Jeffs is charged with sexual misconduct and incest. He appeared in a Kingman, Ariz., court on Friday where a judge took a request by defense attorneys to dismiss incest charges under advisement. Wall is a witness in one of the Arizona cases. Jeffs' lawyers have also filed papers seeking to have the grand jury indictment remanded, claiming pre-trial publicity problems and accusing Mohave County prosecutors of presenting misleading information to jurors to secure the charges.
Among the witnesses Jeffs' lawyers want to talk to are Hoole and Wall's co-author, Lisa Pulitzer. The defense team also wants to see "book contracts, drafts of manuscript of the proposed book and any other financial benefits Wall received, agreements to provide information related to the events associated with this matter, including book deals or appearance fees and any related payments or expenses."Jeffs is also facing a federal grand jury indictment in Salt Lake City charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, stemming from his time as a fugitive, which put him on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.