home
RSS
Prosecution rests in polygamist sect leader trial
August 3rd, 2011
07:32 PM ET

Prosecution rests in polygamist sect leader trial

By the CNN Wire Staff

San Angelo, Texas (CNN) - Texas prosecutors rested their case Wednesday in the sexual assault trial of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs after playing a key piece of evidence for jurors: an audiotape they allege documents his sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl.

One juror wiped her eyes as she listened to the recording. Another looked at Jeffs out of the corner of her eye. Still another had a hand covering her mouth.

The tape contained praying at the beginning and end, and in it a man alleged by prosecutors to be Jeffs addresses the alleged victim by name. At one point, the man asked her how she feels, and a girl replies in a small voice, "I feel fine, thank you." At another point, the man appears to address other people who are present.

"It was very hard to listen to," CNN's Gary Tuchman said of the recording. Authorities seized it from the car Jeffs was traveling in when he was arrested in 2006.

Read the full story here on the latested in the Jeffs trial

August 3rd, 2011
10:38 AM ET

Despite objections, jury hears tapes in polygamist sect leader's trial

By the CNN Wire Staff

San Angelo, Texas (CNN) - The state of Texas is expected to rest its case Wednesday in the sexual assault trial of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs.

On Tuesday night, the jury heard audio recordings that, prosecutors said, show Jeffs instructing a 14-year-old victim and his other young "wives" on how to sexually please him in order to win God's favor.

Jeffs - who is representing himself - repeatedly and loudly objected to the playing of the recordings on religious grounds. Each time, Judge Barbara Walther overruled him.

There can be "no claim of privilege, regardless of the religion, with respect to communications directly relevant to sexual assault of a child," prosecutor Eric Nichols said when the judge invited him to respond to Jeffs' outbursts.

Read the full story here on the latested in the Jeffs trial

Sect leader warns of 'death' to 'those who prosecute the church'
July 30th, 2011
09:20 PM ET

Sect leader warns of 'death' to 'those who prosecute the church'

By the CNN Wire Staff

San Angelo, Texas (CNN) - A Texas judge warned Warren Jeffs against calling "for the jury's destruction" shortly after the polygamous sect leader said Friday during his sexual assault trial that those who prosecuted his church would face "sickness and death."

The comments that precipitated the warning to Jeffs, who has been granted the right to represent himself, occurred around midday after Judge Barbara Walther had sent the jury out of the San Angelo courtroom.

"I, the Lord God of heaven, ask the courts to cease the prosecution of my holy ways," Jeffs said. "There will be a judgment against all those who prosecute the church. ... I shall let all people know of your unjust ways. I will bring sickness and death. Let this cease."

Walther then told him that "if you call for the jury's destruction" while the jury - who will decide if Jeffs is guilty on two counts of sexual assault on a child - is present, "you will be removed from the courtroom."

Read the full story here

July 26th, 2011
03:07 PM ET

Warren Jeffs seeks to control polygamist sect from jail

Editor’s Note: CNN’s Gary Tuchman explores the latest developments in the saga of polygamist Warren Jeffs, the jailed leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a special report on tonight’s “AC 360” and for CNN Presents, airing Sunday, July 31, at 10 p.m. ET.

By David Fitzpatrick, CNN

El Dorado, Texas (CNN) - Fundamentalist Mormon leader Warren Jeffs has been held in a tiny jail in this west Texas town for roughly three years. According to his jailers, he has spent his time doing one thing above all else: talking on the phone..

Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran told CNN that in one month, Jeffs has spent roughly $3,000 on phone cards.

And while Jeffs was recently held in another Texas jail roughly 50 miles away, he spent close to $10,000 in phone cards in three months.

Reagan County Sheriff James Garner, who oversees that jail, told CNN that no inmate there has ever spent that much money on phone cards.

FULL POST


'Sister Wives' stars sue over Utah anti-polygamy law
Kody Brown and his four wives.
July 13th, 2011
08:46 PM ET

'Sister Wives' stars sue over Utah anti-polygamy law

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The stars of TLC's "Sister Wives" reality show sued Utah's governor Wednesday, asking a judge to block the state's long-standing law against polygamy.

The suit, filed in federal court on behalf of Kody Brown and his four wives, argues that Utah's restrictions are unconstitutional.

"By criminalizing religious-based plural families and intimate relationships under the criminal bigamy law, Utah officials prosecute private conduct between consenting adults," the lawsuit says.

FULL POST


Reality TV 'Sister Wives' to challenge Utah anti-polygamy law
Kody Brown and his four wives, the stars of TLC's reality show "Sister Wives."
July 12th, 2011
01:26 PM ET

Reality TV 'Sister Wives' to challenge Utah anti-polygamy law

By Joe Sterling, CNN

Kody Brown and his four wives - the stars of the reality TV show "Sister Wives" - will soon be the subjects of another real-life drama, this one at the federal court in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Browns plan to challenge the state's anti-bigamy statute Wednesday, when attorney Jonathan Turley files a complaint on behalf of the family's fight for the rights of "plural families."

Sister Wives explained: A fundamentalist Mormon polygamy primer

"There are tens of thousands of plural families in Utah and other states. We are one of those families," Kody Brown said in a statement posted on Turley's website Tuesday. "We only wish to live our private lives according our beliefs."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints • Utah

Jailed polygamist retakes control of church, ousts 30 members
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is awaiting trial in Texas on charges of sexual assault and bigamy.
February 24th, 2011
11:28 AM ET

Jailed polygamist retakes control of church, ousts 30 members

Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is not only running the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but he has also ousted up to 30 high-ranking members he considered a threat to his leadership, two well-placed sources tell CNN.

Jeffs, who is scheduled to go to trial this year on sexual assault and bigamy charges, is running the affairs of the church from his jail cell in Texas, the sources said.

Jeffs gave up control of the splinter sect that advocates plural marriages, including marriages that involve girls younger than 18, after he was convicted in 2007 of rape as accomplice. That conviction was overturned last year.

Read the full story about Jeffs retaking control of his church

Polygamist leader Jeffs faces January bigamy trial
December 8th, 2010
08:23 PM ET

Polygamist leader Jeffs faces January bigamy trial

AC360 °" updates the story of Warren Jeffs and the FLDS tonight at 10 p.m. ET. Check out the blog for a behind the scenes report.

Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, who calls himself a prophet, asked a judge on Wednesday to delay his bigamy trial so he can find a Texas lawyer.

Jeffs, 55, leads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the FLDS. The charges - bigamy and sexual assault - stem from an alleged spiritual marriage to a 12-year-old girl.

Jeffs' Nevada-based attorney, Richard Wright, sought to delay the trial, which is to begin January 24. But Judge Barbara Walther denied that request, saying the church leader has long known about the charges in Texas and had plenty of time to seek counsel.

Read the full story


« newer posts
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

Advertisement
Advertisement