Jeffs Trial: Keepin' It Weird

Prophet says only he can provide a "pure" defense

Jeffs with his alleged 12-year-old bride
Jeffs with his alleged 12-year-old bride

Believe it or not, the trial of Warren Jeffs, the prophet of the polygamist Mormon breakaway sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has taken yet another turn – toward the even more strange.

As testimony in the trial began yesterday in San Angelo, on two counts of sexual assault of a child, involving a 12-year-old to whom Jeffs is allegedly married – one of dozens of "spiritual" wives – and a 15-year-old the state says DNA proves he impregnated, Jeffs abruptly fired his team of attorneys and announced to Judge Barbara Walther that he would prefer to represent himself. Although she reportedly admonished him that it was a risky move, Jeffs maintained that he is the only one capable of providing a "pure" defense to the charges. Jeffs then declined to make an opening statement and remained mute in court on Thursday.

Jeffs reportedly broke that silence today, to deliver a "sermon" defending polygamy. After objecting to FBI testimony about records seized from the FLDS' West Texas compound, the Yearning for Zion ranch, during a raid in 2008, Jeffs reportedly talked for nearly an hour, claiming that his group has practiced polygamy "as ordered by God, a higher power than U.S. courts," reports the Associated Press.

You can follow the trial via the Salt Lake Tribune's Polygamy Blog, found here.

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FLDS, Warren Jeffs, polygamy, courts

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