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Sexual assault case against polygamist church leader continues in Texas

Defendant Warren Jeffs says God will punish the judge if the case continues.

Warren Jeffs, centre, is escorted by Texan officers into court on Friday, 29 July, 2011.
Warren Jeffs, centre, is escorted by Texan officers into court on Friday, 29 July, 2011.
Image: Tony Gutierrez/AP/Press Association Images

TEXAS PROSECUTORS are close to resting their case against polygamist church leader Warren Jeffs, who is accused of sexually assaulting two underage girls he took as wives.

The trial resumes today, a day after prosecutors unveiled a series of photos that show Jeffs cuddling and kissing a 12-year-old girl.

Jeffs leads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. Followers see Jeffs as God’s earthly spokesman.

The 55-year-old is acting as his own attorney and claims his rights to religious freedom are being trampled. He says God will punish the judge and others involved if the case continues.

Jeffs isn’t expected to call witnesses. He’s refused to cross-examine prosecutors’ witnesses and gave no opening statement.

- AP

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