Texas FLDS raid may be under grand jury scrutiny

KINGMAN - Interviews with three Texas law enforcement officers may not have garnered Warren Jeffs' attorneys the information they were looking for, but it may have revealed another surprise. A federal grand jury may be investigating the April raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.

In November, Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn ordered three Texas law enforcement officers - Texas Ranger Brooks Long, Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran and Deputy John Connor - to submit to interviews from Jeffs' attorneys, Richard Wright and Michael Piccarreta.

According to transcripts from the November interviews, the Texas Attorney General's Office refused to allow at least two officers, Doran and Long, to respond to any questions about the investigation of the phone calls that led to the raid, confidential informants and anything after April 9 concerning the raid.

Long may have revealed the reason why during his interview with the two attorneys.

"I can't comment on that (the investigation into the phone calls) because I would be violating federal law in reference to that particular question," Long said.

"And what, why is that, because ..." Piccarreta asked.

"Because I'm on a 6(e) list," Long said, referring to federal rules governing grand jury secrecy.

"A grand jury list," Piccarreta said.

"Yes," Long said.

Wright and Piccarreta have attempted since June to suppress any evidence from the raid the Mohave County Attorney and Arizona Attorney General offices might use in their case against Jeffs in Arizona. The CAO and AAG have both stated in court that they currently have no plans to use evidence from the raid in the Arizona case.

The two attorneys filed a motion with the court on Feb. 19 to strike the CAO and AAG's response to their motion to suppress evidence from the Texas raid, because Arizona and Texas authorities have conspired to block their efforts to gather evidence on the Texas raid.

"First, the state of Texas (with the acquiescence of the state of Arizona) has prohibited all inquiry into the circumstances behind the hoax phone call that led to the raid of the [Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] property in the state of Texas, which is the subject of the defendant's motion to suppress," Wright and Piccarreta state in their motion. "Second, the state's response to the defendant's motion to suppress (which apparently was for the most part drafted by Texas authorities) does not even admit undisputed matters of fact, i.e. that the search warrant affidavits contained false accusations of criminal activity inasmuch as the victim was fictitious and the alleged perpetrator was never on the premises. The defendant submits that the state's response should be stricken due to the state's refusal to admit the truth and its efforts to hamper the truth finding process, thereby keeping key pertinent facts from this court."

According to the motion, efforts to resolve the issues have been unsuccessful.

Both parties had until Friday to submit their decision on whether to hold an evidentiary hearing on the matter. Otherwise, the court will set a date and time for a hearing.