Polygamist prophet turned lawyer Warren Jeffs objected Friday to evidence seized from his Yearning For Zion compound in a raid participated in by members of Wichita Falls, Texas law enforcement.
The objection came Friday during his aggravated sexual assault trial allegedly involving a 12-year old girl, according to the indictment.
The polygamy trial of the century has attracted national news media attention to the San Angelo, Texas, courthouse which is situated in the middle of West Texas oil and gas country.
Jeffs, 55, fired his lawyers after jury selection and informed Judge Barbara Walther he would represent himself.
Representatives of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who was born in Wichita Falls, said their part of the trial could end as soon as Tuesday since Jeffs had given no opening statement or conducted any cross examination of witnesses.
He did break his silence with an hour-long sermon Friday defending polygamy in the middle of his objection.
Judge Walther said she allowed him the lengthy objection since he had waived opening statement.
The 10,000 members of the Fundamentalist Chuch of Latter Day Saints(FLDS) consider Jeffs a prophet who speaks for God on earth.
It seemed only appropriate that he proceeded to read a letter purportedly from God to the judge.
During the Aprill 2008 raid of FLDS polygamist compound near Eldorado, Texas, more than 400 children were removed by Texas Child Protective Services officials,including many from the Wichita Falls CPS office.
Flora Jessop, a former FLDS member, said on Headline News Friday it was a tragedy that most of the children were ultimatelly returned to the Yearning For Zion compound.
She said the conditions were so bad for children that before she left she vowed she would never have more children of her own than she could safely carry with her to escape.
Other HLN guests discussed the waterboarding of babies at polygamist compounds.
Richard Sutherland, Wichita Falls attorney, represented one of the children pro bono.
Natalie Malonis, a family law attorney who represented four of the children, said the FLDS polygamous sect had orchestrated a successful public relations campaign which resulted in the return of most of the children to the FLDS compound 40 miles outside San Angelo.
Although the children were returned to the compound, seven of the FLDS leaders have been successfully prosecuted by the Texas Attorney General’s office, headed by Greg Abbott.
Sentences have ranged from six to 75 years.
Although Jeffs is representing himself, the judge has ordered attorneys to standby in court to help the polygamist leader who has not attended law school. This keeps open the option he could re-hire any of the seven attorneys he fired.
This is reminiscent of the capital murder trial in Wichita Falls, Texas in which Judge Bob Brotherton ordered standby counsel for the defendant after he fired his attorney. In that case the defendant re-hired and re-fired his attorney throughout the trial and frequently consulted with him.
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