Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs' defense team wants to keep any evidence seized from the raid on the YFZ Ranch out of his upcoming trial in Arizona.
In papers filed in Mohave County, Ariz., Superior Court late Thursday, Jeffs' defense lawyers put the court on notice that they intend to fight to suppress "any and all evidence obtained from the raid and the search of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) property in the state of Texas."
"It is becoming more and more evident that the Texas raid was based on a hoax telephone call containing false accusations of abuse," attorneys Richard Wright and Michael Piccarreta wrote. "Published newspaper articles indicate that similar charges were made regarding the Colorado City/Hildale community, and were determined to be unworthy of belief. Indeed, it is believed that Colorado authorities are investigating criminal charges of false reporting to a law enforcement agency in connection with that matter."
Jeffs' attorneys put the court on notice in a legal reply, complaining that they have been denied access to public records regarding calls claiming abuse in Arizona and Utah. The Arizona Attorney General's Office objected to their records request, saying that attorneys representing criminal defendants cannot make public records requests because they can obtain it through discovery.
In their reply, Wright and Piccarreta said they want to gather information on the hoax calls and "show that the raid and search of the FLDS property in Texas was illegal and the fruits thereof must be suppressed."
Texas authorities are still investigating the calls that sparked the raid and the removal of hundreds of children from the YFZ Ranch. A Colorado Springs, Colo., woman has been termed a "person of interest" in the investigation.
Jeffs is facing sexual misconduct charges in Arizona, accusing him of performing underage marriages. Earlier this week, the judge handling the case dismissed four incest as an accomplice charges, saying that Arizona's incest law only applies if both participants are over 18, and the law does not apply to half-cousins.
The FLDS leader was convicted last year in Utah of rape as an accomplice, accused of performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin. He was sentenced to a pair of 5-to-life prison terms.
Jeffs is also facing a federal grand jury indictment in Salt Lake City, charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. The charges stem from his time on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.Texas investigators recently took a DNA sample from Jeffs, saying in a search warrant affidavit that they were looking into so-called "marriages" between the FLDS leader and four girls ages 12-15.
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