Judge Denies Release Of FLDS Leaders Awaiting Trial
A federal judge has ordered two FLDS leaders to remain in custody until their fraud trial begins.
U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart ruled Tuesday that Seth Jeffs and John Wayman are to remain in jail pending their trial.
GPS tracking evidence suggests that Jeffs and Wayman met on four separate occasions last month. That action violated court orders forbidding contact between the co-defendants. They were taken back into custody earlier this month.
On Monday in court, attorneys for Jeffs and Wayman said that while the defendants had violated the no-contact order, the purpose of their meetings was to conduct church and community business. Attorneys also argued they did not pose a flight risk.
Judge Stewart was unconvinced, writing in his ruling that since the two had previously disregarded their no-contact order, they were unlikely to follow other court instructions and should remain in jail.
Jeffs, Wayman and nine other members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are facing federal charges of fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors allege that they took food stamp benefit cards from church members, converting them to cash and using them to purchase food for a storehouse.
The trial is scheduled for Oct. 3, though several defendants have asked that it be postponed. Stewart has scheduled a hearing for Aug. 30 to decide whether to delay the trial.