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Judge gives Warren Jeffs’ brothers a week to lawyer up or face sanctions

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Posted at 4:25 PM, Mar 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-01 09:23:44-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has given two top members of Warren Jeffs’ polygamous church a week to hire lawyers to represent them, or face sanctions.

In an order handed down Monday, U.S. District Judge David Sam gave FLDS bishop Lyle Jeffs and his brother, Nephi, seven days to find new attorneys. The judge wrote that the Jeffs brothers were given 21 days to find lawyers and have yet to do so.

Read the judge’s order here:

It’s the latest twist in a 2012 child labor case involving hundreds of FLDS children who were seen working on a southern Utah pecan farm. The U.S. Department of Labor is suing, alleging the children were plucked from school and put to work under orders from FLDS leaders.

Judge Sam initially ruled that Lyle and Nephi Jeffs, brothers to imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, did not have to answer certain questions in depositions based on “sincerely held religious beliefs,” but he instructed them to turn over religious texts to justify why they can’t answer questions. Shortly after that ruling, the Jeffs brothers split with their lawyer. 

Labor Department lawyers opposed the firing of the attorneys.

Judge Sam has previously ruled that other FLDS members don’t have to answer questions about the inner-workings of the FLDS Church, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the “Hobby Lobby” case.

Warren Jeffs is currently serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for child sex assault related to so-called “marriages” involving underage girls.