ELDORADO, Texas — A grand jury is expected to reconvene here today to continue investigating possible crimes by members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

Some familiar with the grand-jury proceedings have said it is possible that indictments could be issued by the end of the day. However, those indictments may remain sealed until warrants and summons are issued.

"There are a lot of issues to work through here. To the extent that they're relying on member witnesses, they've got to deal with an immunity issue," said Rod Parker, a Salt Lake attorney acting as a spokesman for the FLDS Church.

He suggested that prosecutors may be prepared to offer deals to some FLDS members in exchange for testimony against others.

The Schleicher County grand jury is expected to meet today for the second time regarding its investigation into FLDS members, many of whom live on the YFZ Ranch just outside of Eldorado. In June, several women and girls from the ranch — including 16-year-old Teresa Jeffs, the daughter of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs — were subpoenaed to testify.

While grand-jury proceedings are supposed to be secret, a public feud between Teresa Jeffs and her attorney ad litem, Natalie Malonis, made June's hearing anything but confidential. Malonis obtained a restraining order against FLDS member and spokesman Willie Jessop, accusing him of trying to coerce her client into avoiding a subpoena to testify.

Teresa Jeffs responded by making public e-mails she sent to Malonis, telling her to "Shut your mouth and quit calling me a victim of sexual abuse" and demanding a new attorney.

Malonis was subpoenaed to testify at the last hearing, but she asserted her attorney-client privilege. Teresa Jeffs also was subpoenaed but did not answer reporters' questions outside the courthouse after her testimony was over.

"It's been a roller coaster," Malonis said Friday, adding that she did not anticipate returning to testify.

A child-advocate report filed in a San Angelo court last week suggested that Teresa Jeffs was "spiritually" married to a 34-year-old man the day after her 15th birthday in a ceremony presided over by her father.

The grand jury is just the start of what potentially could be a busy week for the embattled polygamous sect. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing Thursday in Washington, D.C., to examine the need for federal intervention to investigate and prosecute crimes associated with polygamy.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, bwinslow@desnews.com