Preliminary Hearing for Jailed Polygamist Warren Jeffs Postponed

A preliminary hearing for polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was postponed Monday at the request of one of his newly hired lawyers in Utah.

Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, appeared at the 5th District Court hearing via closed-circuit TV from the Purgatory Correction Facility in nearby Hurricane.

Jeffs, 50, is charged with two felony counts of rape as an accomplice, accused of arranging a "spiritual marriage" between an underage girl and an older man. Each count carries a penalty of five years to life in prison.

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Court documents filed by Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap do not identify the girl or her husband, but indicated that she fought the marriage despite being directed by Jeffs to give herself "mind, body and soul, to your husband like you're supposed to."

Salt Lake City lawyers Walter Bugden and Tara Isaacson will represent Jeffs, who was arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol on Aug. 28 during a traffic stop north of Las Vegas.

Isaacson asked Judge James Shumate for a continuance of the Sept. 19 preliminary hearing — a hearing at which the case against Jeffs would be outlined. Shumate agreed and set Sept. 27 as a scheduling hearing date to decide when a preliminary hearing would be held.

Jeffs is being held without bail.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a polygamy-practicing sect of nearly 10,000 people who mostly make their homes in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

Jeffs has been held at the Washington County jail since Sept. 5. He is on lockdown 23 hours daily and has limited visitation. Jail records of Jeffs visitors have not been released by the Washington County sheriff's office, despite two public records requests filed by The Associated Press.

Jeff's Las Vegas attorney Richard Wright, who is not licensed to practice in Utah, spent Thursday and Friday in southern Utah and visited Jeffs at the jail.

Wright has filed a motion in Nevada's U.S. District Court, seeking the return of personal papers, computers and recording devices found inside the Cadillac SUV Jeffs was riding in at the time of his arrest. Wright claims the items contain "sacred" and privileged information shared between Jeffs and his followers, who have communicated with him primarily through letters over the two-plus years that the church leader has been in hiding.

Wright has asked a judge to review the materials before making them public. It was unknown Monday when a judge would address the motion.

Also found inside the SUV was more than $54,000 in cash, wigs, cell phones, global positioning devices and police scanners.

Jeffs had been on the run for about a year-and-a-half when he was arrested. He had been on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list since May.

Besides the Utah charges, Jeffs is facing two felony charges in Mohave County, Ariz., for a similarly arranged marriage involving an underage girl. He's expected to be prosecuted there after Utah proceedings have concluded.