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San Angelo, Texas • A jury has found a former polygamous sect bishop guilty of presiding over the marriage of his 12-year-old daughter to leader Warren Jeffs.

A defense attorney for 75-year-old Merril Jessop argued the "sealing" wasn't a legal marriage ceremony as defined by Texas law, the San Angelo Standard-Times reported.

"You might be terribly disgusted with Warren Jeffs, but this is different," Jessop's San Angelo attorney Rae Leifeste said in closing arguments, the newspaper reported. "This is a technical issue with Texas law."

Leifeste called two witnesses in Jessop's defense: a justice of the peace and a county clerk to affirm that marriage licenses are necessary for a marriage ceremony and that no marriage license was attained for Jessop's ceremony.

"Texas law is as clear as a bell on this," lead prosecutor Angela Goodwin countered in her closing arguments, saying there was no mention of the necessity of a marriage license in the statute. "He is trying to confuse the issue on what a marriage ceremony is."

The evidence against Jessop came primarily from sect records gathered in a massive 2008 raid on its Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, along with testimony from a former member and law enforcement.

The jury began deliberations at 11 a.m. CST and finished an hour and 20 minutes later, according to the Standard-Times.

Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was in August convicted of assaulting two underage girls he took as wives and sentenced to life in prison.

Jessop was an FLDS bishop and church elder who oversaw the YFZ Ranch until he was excommunicated by Jeffs early this year. He is also the former husband of Carolyn Jessop, who wrote the bestselling book Escape chronicling her marriage and departure from the group.

Jessop was charged with a single count of conducting an illegal ceremony. He faces two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The punishment phase of the trial is expected to end Tuesday, according to the Standard-Times.

Lindsay Whitehurst contributed to this report.