A child bride who became the government’s key witness against sect leader Warren Jeffs said a Utah Supreme Court decision this week overthrowing the polygamous prophet’s conviction on rape charges will damage child victims and embolden leaders in the religious community on the Arizona Strip.
“This puts the power back in Warren’s hands tenfold,” said Elissa Wall, who was 14 when she first married.
In a phone interview from her Utah home, Wall, now 24, said she fears the impact on children inside the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who may be looking for help.
During the first trial, Warren Jeff’s attorney Michael Piccarreta said Wall colluded with a midwife to create false documentation of a miscarriage and misrepresented that record on the witness stand. As a result, he said, government lawyers will have to overcome credibility problems with their chief witness.
Wall said the allegation reflects a defense tactic, not reality. She said she’s reviewed her sworn statements with prosecutors and is prepared to testify again if necessary. “I never gave false testimony in trial, none whatsoever,” she said.