Mike Terry, Deseret News
San Antonio attorney Michael Gross, who represents FLDS members, leaves the Tom Green Courthouse on Friday afternoon after a closed-door hearing.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Lawyers for a member of the Fundamentalist LDS Church may be trying to prevent that person from testifying before a grand jury investigating crimes within the polygamous sect.

A hearing on a motion to quash a subpoena was held behind closed doors here on Friday. Little else is known about what happened at the hearing or why there is concern about anyone's testimony.

A Deseret News reporter was not allowed inside the courtroom on Friday afternoon because the hearing involved matters of grand-jury secrecy, a bailiff said. Texas 51st District Judge Barbara Walther also would not release a copy of the motion to quash that was filed with the court.

As they left the courthouse, lawyers for both the FLDS and the Texas Attorney General's Office declined to comment.

"I can't talk about it," said Michael Gross, a San Antonio attorney who represents FLDS members.

He said he could not even say whom he is representing.

"It's confidential," said Angela Goodwin, Texas assistant attorney general.

The grand jury is expected to meet in nearby Eldorado again next week, where more FLDS members may be called to testify. Six members of the church already have been indicted, including FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.

Five of the men, including Jeffs, are accused of sexually assaulting girls under age 17 in what the indictments claim were purported marriages. One man, Merril Leroy Jessop, 33, is also charged with bigamy. Dr. Lloyd Hammon Barlow, 38, the community's physician, is charged with misdemeanor failure to report child abuse. He is accused of delivering babies of underage girls but failing to notify authorities about any crime.

Five of the men surrendered to authorities after being indicted and have since been released after posting bond. Texas authorities are seeking to extradite Jeffs, 52, who is in an Arizona jail awaiting trial on sexual misconduct charges. He is accused of performing underage marriages. Jeffs was convicted in Utah of rape as an accomplice and sentenced to a pair of 5-to-life prison terms for performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin.


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