Lawyers for Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs want to question Texas Rangers about the raid on the polygamous sect's ranch.
In court papers filed Monday in Arizona, Jeffs' defense attorneys are asking a judge to order the depositions of Texas law enforcement officials. Richard Wright and Michael Piccarreta say they have made repeated efforts to schedule interviews, but Texas authorities have not cooperated with them.
"This failure to grant personal interviews is slowing the process of analysis as to all of the issues raised in the motion to suppress," the attorneys wrote.
Jeffs' attorneys have filed a motion to keep any evidence seized in Texas out of Jeffs' upcoming trials in Kingman, Ariz. In this latest court filing, Wright and Piccarreta say they need to know whether Arizona law enforcement in the Jeffs case has been "tainted" by exposure to the evidence seized from the YFZ Ranch.
Mohave County prosecutors have repeatedly said they do not plan on using any evidence seized from Texas in Jeffs' upcoming trials in Arizona.
"Since the state is not planning on using any of the Texas evidence at either of the currently pending trials, this issue is not 'ripe' for adjudication at this time, and so depositions of the Texas law enforcement officers are unnecessary because they are not witnesses, material or otherwise at the current time," Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith wrote in a response.
Smith urged the judge to deny Jeffs' request but said he would not object to them renewing it if, at some point, Arizona prosecutors find some evidence seized from the YFZ Ranch that is relevant to his cases.
The Texas Department of Public Safety referred questions to the state's attorney general's office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jeffs, 52, is facing trial in Arizona on a pair of sexual misconduct with a minor charges, accusing him of performing child-bride marriages. He was convicted in Utah of rape as an accomplice for performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin.
In April, authorities raided the YFZ Ranch on a report of abuse. On site, child welfare workers said they found other signs of abuse, including underage marriages, prompting a judge to order the removal of all of the children. The 439 children were ultimately returned when a pair of Texas courts ruled the state acted improperly.
Law enforcement served a series of search warrants on the ranch, seizing hundreds of thousands of documents, dictations, diaries, photographs and other evidence of underage marriages. Nine FLDS men, including Jeffs, have been indicted by a Texas grand jury on charges ranging from sexual assault to bigamy to failure to report child abuse. Some of the men are scheduled to appear in an Eldorado, Texas, courtroom on Monday.
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