Arizona prosecutors deny misleading a grand jury that indicted Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs.
In papers filed in Mohave County, Ariz., Superior Court, Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said the claims made by Jeffs' attorneys "miss the point of the presentation of evidence to the grand jury."
"This evidence was crucial to show that Warren Jeffs acted as an accomplice by performing the sealing ceremony between the couple that he himself arranged. It was also essential to show why a 51-year-old man would marry his 16-year-old first cousin," Smith wrote. "None of the evidence presented that the defense argues was religiously based was misleading or false."
Jeffs is facing sexual misconduct charges in Arizona, accusing him of performing a pair of underage marriages. A judge recently dismissed incest as an accomplice charges against Jeffs.
Meanwhile, Jeffs' defense team is seeking to quash a subpoena served on the man in charge of the FLDS Church's real-estate holdings arm, claiming the information is protected by priest-penitent privilege.
"The subpoena improperly requests material regarding the religious beliefs and practices of Mr. Jeffs and the FLDS Church," attorneys Richard Wright and Michael Piccarreta wrote.
Prosecutors want to see evidence seized in the Cadillac Escalade that Jeffs was riding in when he was arrested in 2006. Bruce Wisan, the court-appointed special fiduciary of the United Effort Plan Trust, said he has signed a deal with Jeffs' attorneys to not disclose what evidence he has seen. Wisan subpoenaed the evidence to determine if any of it has anything to do with the multimillion-dollar trust that was taken over by a Utah court in 2005.
"The subpoena must be quashed because the state of Arizona is attempting to acquire materials that should never have been in the Fiduciary's possession to begin with and which he is required to return," Jeffs' defense team wrote.
Because of the legal paperwork flying back and forth, the judge hearing the Arizona case has delayed a hearing for Jeffs until July 11.Jeffs was convicted 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 sentences. He is also facing a federal grand jury indictment in Salt Lake City charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, stemming from his time on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.
Contributing: Suzanne Adams, Kingman Daily Miner E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]