FLDS' Jeffs to Stand Trial
"Prophet" accused of abetting rape by arranging and presiding over the 2001 "spiritual marriage" of a 14-year-girl and her 19-year-old first cousin
After two days in court spread over two months for a hearing on whether the state has enough evidence to try Jeffs for the rape charge, Shumate ruled that the trial will go forward, starting April 27. Jeffs immediately entered a plea of not guilty; his lawyer, Wally Bugden, told reporters that the state charges against Jeffs amount to religious persecution. "Shame on the state," he told Salt Lake City's Deseret Morning News. "There was no rape in this case. Mr. Jeffs is not on trial for practicing polygamy. The religious counsel he gave to this couple is no different from what religious leaders of other religions tell their faithful every day across America."