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A judge has found two brothers of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs in contempt of court for ignoring subpoenas in an investigation into suspected child labor violations on a Utah pecan farm.

U.S. District Judge David Sam ruled Wednesday that Nephi and Lyle Jeffs have disobeyed subpoenas requiring them to answer questions from U.S. Department of Labor investigators.

Federal authorities say the 2012 harvest was directed by the secretive sect and involved up to 1,400 child workers. They say Lyle Jeffs told church leaders to leave phone messages telling members' children to take days off school and work without pay.

Sam ruled in January that the brothers could cite religious freedom and avoid some questions, but ordered them to answer others.

Defense attorney Kenneth Okazaki did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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