SALT LAKE CITY — Polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs is asking a federal judge to modify the conditions of his release, allowing him to do some work from his home confinement in Salt Lake County, as well as have church services brought up from the Fundamentalist LDS Church headquarters of Hildale and Colorado City.
“Due to the extensive publicity surrounding this case in the Salt Lake City area, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Mr. Jeffs to obtain employment in the Salt Lake City area,” his defense attorney, Kathryn Nester, wrote.
The judge has also forbidden Jeffs from returning to Short Creek, the name for Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., so Nester asked that he be able to do consulting work for his son’s company.
“The job would consist entirely of working up estimates to assist his son in bidding on potential jobs and it would only require that Mr. Jeffs have a laptop in his residence. Mr. Jeffs’ son is not expected to be a fact witness for the Government in the pending matter before this Court,” Nester wrote.
Jeffs also requested the judge allow him to receive correspondence from FLDS members, which is a part of his religious duties.
” Mr. Jeffs’ religious practices require him to regularly pray for the members of his community and whatever travails they are experiencing in their daily lives. Mr. Jeffs would agree not to respond to any of the correspondence he receives,” Nester wrote. “Receiving the prayer requests of Mr. Jeffs’ faith community would enable Mr. Jeffs to continue his spiritual duties without any concern of exerting undue influence since he would not respond to the letters. Mr. Jeffs respectfully seeks an order from this Court allowing this limited, one-way communication between him and the members of the FLDS church.”
She also asked that since Jeffs was forbidden from traveling to Short Creek, some religious services be brought to him in the Salt Lake Valley.
“His beliefs require him to meet with members of his faith for purposes of taking the sacrament, studying doctrine and scripture, praying, singing, and conducting priesthood meetings with other men from his faith,” Nester wrote, pointing out his First Amendment religious freedom rights.
U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart allowed Lyle Jeffs to be released from jail after the trial on food stamp fraud and money laundering charges was delayed. He was ordered to live in the Salt Lake City area and have no contact with witnesses, co-defendants, any alleged victims or his brother, imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.
Jeffs and 10 others are accused of ordering FLDS members to hand over food stamp benefits to leaders. Federal prosecutors claim the scheme exceeds $12 million in taxpayer dollars.
Defense attorneys have suggested that FLDS members have a religious right to consecrate their property to their church.
The trial is currently scheduled to start in October.
Read the motion here: