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As Texas officials investigate whether he broke prison rules with a telephone sermon, prosecutors have filed a motion to delay a bigamy trial for polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs until late 2012.
Since Jeffs has no attorney and already is serving a life-plus-20-years sentence on two counts of sexual assault of a child, prosecutors wrote it makes sense to avoid expense and minimize litigation by delaying this second trial.
West Texas Judge Barbara Walther has yet to rule on the motion, which was filed Wednesday. Prosecutors moved to delay a pretrial hearing set for Jan. 6 to an unspecified date late next year. Jeffs' trial was scheduled to begin Feb. 15.
Also this week, Jeffs, 56, filed two "revelations from God" in all of his court cases. Purportedly written in the voice of God, they command the court to reverse his conviction and set him free.
"I, your Lord, have seen the conspiring and evil combining, in mind and word and also now in full way of fulfilling, to put my holy servant in prison unto a full lifetime," one of the documents states. "I shall soon lay a heavy hand on all who fight against my priesthood and church ..."
Jeffs was convicted in August of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, who he took as polygamous wives. The bigamy case against Jeffs also is connected to one of those victims.
But even though he is being held in a solitary Texas prison cell, Jeffs apparently has managed to speak to his followers.
Last weekend, he told a priesthood meeting of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints men that they must be re-baptized by the end of the year or risk being "destroyed" when the apocalypse comes, said Willie Jessop, a former church spokesman who now opposes Jeffs. To be re-baptized, members must follow a restrictive set of rules, including giving up children's toys and signing over all possessions to the bishop.
Prison spokeswoman Michelle Lyons confirmed Jeffs made two phone calls to a relative on Christmas Day. The Texas Office of the Inspector General is investigating whether Jeffs broke prison rules that allow inmates to call only 10 people who have been approved for visitation. Investigators are looking at whether he had the phone calls played to the congregation over a loudspeaker, a technique he used in a Texas jail to preach to his flock before he went to trial, or if the calls were recorded and played back.
"If it's determined that Jeffs circumvented or otherwise disregarded TDCJ's telephone policies, he could face losing his telephone privileges altogether," Lyons said.