Judge says FLDS bishop Lyle Jeffs doesn’t have to testify at trial

Posted at 7:46 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 21:46:45-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has ruled that Warren Jeffs’ brother does not have to testify in the upcoming trial against Hildale and Colorado City.

Lyle Jeffs had been fighting a U.S. Justice Department subpoena that he testify in a discrimination trial set to begin next week in Phoenix.

In a ruling issued Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Russel Holland said he did not buy arguments from the U.S. Justice Department that “Jeffs’ position as a bishop of the FLDS Church, that his presence at the (Leroy S. Johnson) meeting house where the church holds meetings in Colorado City, or that Jeffs’ directions that members carry out work projects in Colorado City singly or collectively constitute the regular transaction of business in the state of Arizona.”

Judge Holland said he did not believe the federal government would be prejudiced if Jeffs did not appear in court, noting that he had already sat for a videotaped deposition. The judge told Justice Department lawyers to use the tape instead.

The Feds are suing Hildale and Colorado City, accusing the town governments of acting as agents for Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church. The governments are accused of discriminating against non-FLDS members in utilities and policing services.

Jury selection for the six-week trial is already under way.