|Polygamist leader's brother held for trial|
By Judith Kohler|
The Associated Press
The Daily Sentinel - Grand Junction, Colorado
DENVER — A federal judge ruled Thursday that there is enough evidence to pursue charges against Seth Steed Jeffs, who's accused of harboring his brother and fugitive polygamist leader, Warren Jeffs.
The formal charges came a week after sheriff's deputies arrested Seth Jeffs, 32, of Hildale, Utah, during a traffic stop in Colorado and seized $142,000 in cash, thousands of dollars in prepaid debit cards and his older brother's personal records and correspondence.
"He's part of a chain that is purposefully trying to conceal Warren Jeffs," federal prosecutor Philip Brimmer said of the defendant. "He doesn't have to be all of that chain. He is an important link to that chain."
Jeffs' attorney, Ed Pluss, argued that his client was merely taking the money and documents to Texas to a bishop of the Leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which the elder Jeffs heads.
Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer sided with prosecutors, saying they had probable cause to pursue a federal indictment against Jeffs. His arraignment is set for Nov. 17.
Shaffer, though, rejected prosecutors' efforts to keep Jeffs in jail.
Brimmer argued that Jeffs should be held without bond because he was a flight risk and might elude authorities through a network of church members in Utah, Arizona, Texas, Mexico and Canada.
Shaffer said he didn't want to penalize someone simply because they were a member of a particular religious community, but asked that Jeffs post a $25,000 property bond. Jeffs will also have to surrender his passport and restrict his travel to Colorado and Utah.
A bond hearing was scheduled for Friday.
Jeffs was arrested after sheriff's deputies pulled over the SUV carrying him and another man Oct. 28 in Pueblo, about 110 miles south of Denver. Jeffs and Nathaniel Steed Allred, whose age wasn't given, were arrested on charges of prostitution and solicitation for prostitution after Allred told officers that Jeffs hired him for sex, according to an affidavit.
Jeffs was arrested on the federal charge of concealing a fugitive after FBI agents interviewed him and determined that the cash, prepaid debit and phone cards and cell phones were the kinds of items often used by people to evade capture.
FBI agent Andrew Stearns testified that Jeffs told him he didn't know where his brother was, but wouldn't reveal his whereabouts even if he did.
Stearns said there was a total of nearly $142,000 in cash in several envelopes, a box and a donation jar that had a picture of Warren Jeffs on it. He said Jeffs told him he was a messenger for the church and was delivering the money and records to a bishop of the church in Texas.
The church has a ranch near Eldorado, Texas.
Warren Jeffs, 49, has been a fugitive since his June indictment in Arizona on charges of arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a man who was already married. The FBI added a charge of unlawful flight against Jeffs and joined the search for him.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints split from The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints in the early part of the 20th Century. The breakaway sect's membership is estimated at between 6,000 and 10,000.
The younger Jeffs, who appeared in U.S. District Court in slate blue prison pants and a short-sleeved top, did not speak.
Pluss and a brother of Jeffs' who attended the hearing declined to comment afterward.
Originally published November 3, 2005
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