In court papers filed Friday, Steed’s attorneys call a $50,000 cash-only bond set in the matter “grossly excessive” and ask that it be set aside or reduced to $5,000.
Steed, 26, is not a flight risk – he has lived 50 miles from St. George his entire life – nor a danger to the community, said attorneys Jim Bradshaw and Mark Moffat in two court filings. He also has agreed to voluntarily appear in the St. George court on Oct. 4, making the arrest warrant unnecessary.
“Mr. Steed is a deeply religious and hard-working man that does not engage in any conduct traditionally associated with criminal behavior,” the filing states. He is employed, has no criminal history and, through his counsel, has been in contact with authorities for more than a year.
Washington County prosecutors charged Steed with rape Wednesday, a week after he testified as a defense witness in Jeffs’ trial.
Jeffs was convicted Tuesday on two rape charges based on a marriage he conducted in 2001 between Steed and Elissa Wall.
At the time, Wall was 14 and Steed was 19.
“The state asserts inappropriate sexual contact between Mr. Steed and a woman who had been wed to him through an arranged spiritual marriage in a theocratic community,” according to one filing. The circumstances are such “there is no possibility they could be repeated.”
Wall left Steed in 2004 and has since remarried.
Steed hired the attorneys in 2006, shortly after Washington County filed its case against Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
They met with prosecutors on several occasions and said Steed would voluntarily surrender if charged.
Prosecutors said no decision had been made about whether to pursue him.
That changed on Sept. 19, the day Steed voluntarily testified in Jeffs’ trial despite knowing it could be used against him.
Steed informed the court he wanted to get the truth out.
During a lunch break prosecutors informed Bradshaw, who was in court, they planned to file the rape charge because of Steed’s testimony.
According to the filing, Bradshaw again said Steed would voluntarily surrender on the charge.
The arrest warrant, with a $50,000 bond, was issued Sept. 26.
“The timing and tone of this arrest warrant suggests that it is motivated by something other than a desire to protect the safety of the community or the integrity of the process,” a court filing states.
“It is hard to miss the message with respect to the potential consequences for testifying contrary to the interests of the state in the Warren Jeffs matter.”
Steed’s attorneys also maintain that nothing he said warrants the charge now pending against him.
Steed testified that Wall initiated their first sexual encounter about three weeks into their marriage.
Wall disputed that, saying she sobbed and protested while he raped her.
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