Polygamist Prophet Update
Jeffs back in court this week
By Jordan Smith, 7:37AM, Thu. Feb. 3, 2011
Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned prophet of the polygamist Mormon breakaway sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was back in court Jan. 31 with his new Texas attorney, Fort Worth's Jeff Kearney.
Jeffs, who had been scheduled to stand later this month at the first of two trials – on charges of sexual assault and bigamy – had been asking to have the trials postponed while he searched for a suitable Texas-based attorney. It seems Jeffs was having a tough time finding someone to represent him here – indeed, last month he fired attorney Gerry Morris, reportedly just hours after he had hired him. Although Jeffs had been asking that Judge Barbara Walther postpone the start of his first trial so that he could take more time to find an attorney, Walther seemed disinclined to do so: Hire an attorney first, she reportedly said, then she would entertain the motion for postponement.
And so it went on Monday, when Jeffs appeared with Kearney, known for a number of high-profile cases – including as one of the defense attorneys who represented the 11 Branch Davidians tried in federal court in 1994 – Walther agreed to reset Jeffs' trial dates: His trial for aggravated sexual assault will now begin July 25. His bigamy trial has been set for Oct. 3.
Jeffs will be back in court for another pretrial hearing in late March.
Kearney told the court that he needs time to review the evidence against Jeffs, presumably much of it coming from the infamous raid by Texas officials in 2008 of the FLDS' Yearning for Zion compound just outside Eldorado. "I've had things described to me that make me think [reviewing all the evidence] is an awesome task," he said.
You can find more on Jeffs and the FLDS in Texas here.