Lawyers for Warren Jeffs object to request for documents

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Attorneys for a jailed polygamous church leader are objecting to subpoenas seeking papers seized from a Cadillac Escalade during his arrest last year.

Subpoenas served on Warren Jeffs and his attorneys required a response by Wednesday.

“I got a letter that they’re objecting,” said Jeff Shields, an attorney for a property trust that was managed by Jeffs but now is under court supervision.

“We’ll be filing a response and this will probably end up in court,” he said.

Jeffs, 51, is president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is in the Washington County jail awaiting trial on felony charges of rape as an accomplice.

When Jeffs was arrested near Las Vegas in August, police seized hundreds of documents and letters from the SUV. Shields and accountant Bruce Wisan believe the papers may be relevant to operations of the United Effort Plan Trust.

A phone message seeking comment from Jeffs’ attorney, Wally Bugden, was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Bugden earlier had said he would seek to quash the subpoenas because a federal judge is trying to decide if the papers are protected.

The content of the documents has not been made public. Court filings contend the documents hold matters of church doctrine and private communications between Jeffs and his followers.

A hearing is scheduled for May 24 in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

The trust holds more than $110 million in property in Hildale, Utah, Colorado City, Ariz., and parts of British Columbia, assets that were donated to the church by its members.

In 2005, a Utah judge placed the trust under Wisan’s management. Lawyers for the state said church leaders had used it for their own benefit, including keeping Jeffs on the run from criminal charges in Utah and Arizona.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 17, 2007.
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