Polygamist sect leader again seeks judge's removal

July 18, 2011 10:13:21 AM PDT
The first of six witnesses has testified at a hearing where polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs is seeking the removal of the judge overseeing his trial. The hearing Monday in San Angelo is the second attempt by the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to replace state District Judge Barbara Walther.

Jeffs claims Walther is biased because she signed the search warrant for a 2008 raid of a West Texas retreat where authorities believed underage girls were being forced into polygamous marriages.

Leslie Brooks Long of the Texas Rangers testified that Walther received updates during the raid, but said that wasn't unusual. Long was asked to read newspaper articles detailing that Jeffs supporters were targeting Walther, another basis for defense claims of bias.