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Arguments filed over Jeffs’ recorded statements

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ST. GEORGE — Prosecutors in the Warren Jeffs trial want to use a recorded "revelation" uttered by Jeffs that warns followers of a "conspiracy" facing the polygamous sect.

The statements, made by Jeffs in 2003 to a group of men, were recorded and transcribed, according to a motion filed in 5th District Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors argue that the statements should be allowed as evidence because they show Jeffs' mental state when it comes to performing underage marriages. The defense has filed a motion to exclude the comments.

A transcript of the recorded revelation is included in the motion. In it, Jeffs states, "a secret combination was in place between the apostates everywhere, many of them, and the government officials, and also traitors and half-hearted men, false brethren among the Priesthood people. And that conspiracy involved the passing of these laws, to call us criminal by performing marriages, so-called 'under-age' marriages."

Prosecutors are focusing on several statements made by Jeffs, who reportedly said, "no person, no court, no government, no people on the face of the whole earth has the right or authority to bring God into question what He has His Prophets do in the Celestial Law among his Priesthood people on His consecrated lands."

Members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church refer to the practice of plural marriage as the doctrine of Celestial Law or the Everlasting Covenant.

Jeffs is charged with two first-degree felony counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in conducting a 2001 spiritual marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin. During a preliminary hearing, the now 20-year-old woman testified she objected to the union and to the sexual relations that later followed.

Jury selection continues today as attorneys conduct one-on-one interviews with potential jurors. Judge James Shumate is seeking a pool of 28 qualified jurors from which to select eight jurors and four alternates. As of early this afternoon, 24 of the 28 had been identified.

E-mail: nperkins@desnews.com