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Fri, April 26

Jeffs' attorneys seek interviews with witnesses

KINGMAN - Attorneys for Warren Jeffs continue to try to collect evidence and testimony in their attempt to defend the religious sect leader.

Michael Piccarreta and Richard Wright, Jeffs' attorneys, have filed several requests in the last two weeks to interview people who may be called as witnesses in the case.

Rebecca Musser, who was once married to Jeffs' father, Rulon, testified in the Utah cases against Jeffs in 2007 and she may testify about the practices of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during Jeffs' trial in Mohave County.

Piccarreta and Wright also claim that Musser was at the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas when Texas authorities raided the property last year.

Texas authorities raided the ranch after receiving a phone call from a woman claiming to be a teenage bride who said she was beaten by her husband at the ranch. More than 400 children were removed from the ranch by Texas law enforcement officers and placed in the care of Children Protective Services. The call later turned out to be a hoax and many of the children have been returned to their families.

According to court documents, the Mohave County Attorney's Office has arranged a phone interview between Piccarreta and Wright and Musser and her attorneys.

Piccarreta and Wright have notified the court they may withdraw their formal request if Musser answers questions about

what happened during the raid of the YFZ Ranch.

The two attorneys have also asked to interview Sam Brower. Brower is a private investigator who worked for the United Effort Plan Trust and the Diversity Foundation.

The UEP Trust is based on an early Mormon belief that all property should be shared between the members of the church. The trust controls the homes, property and businesses in the FLDS sect. Control of the trust was turned over to the courts in 2005. Bruce Wisan has been overseeing the trust since then.

According to Piccarreta and Wright, Brower has done some investigative work for Wisan and the trust.

He has also worked for the Diversity Foundation, a group that has helped former members of the FLDS adapt to the outside world. Dan Fischer, a former FLDS member, started the group. Wright and Piccarreta have alleged that the Diversity Foundation has bankrolled a number of civil and criminal cases against Jeffs.

He also allegedly helped with the book "Stolen Innocence," which was written by one of the purported victims.

Brower has allegedly refused to speak with Piccarreta or Wright. The two attorneys have asked the court to set a date for a deposition, a court ordered interview, with him.

The CAO has asked the court to deny the deposition request, saying that Brower is not a witness for the state and any work done by Brower would be protected by attorney-client privilege.

Piccarreta and Wright have countered in a written response that Brower is not an employee of the CAO or a victim in the case and only the court can decide who may or may not be interviewed by attorneys in the case.

They also point out that attorneys at the Hoole law firm, which Brower has worked for, have given testimony without issues being raised about attorney-client privilege being raised. The Hoole law firm has handled cases involving former FLDS members suing the sect.

Piccarreta and Wright also claim that Brower has helped law enforcement agencies in Arizona and Utah, and two attorneys general, in their cases against Jeffs and helped the FBI search for Jeffs in 2006.

Brower has also made numerous public statements against the FLDS and Warren Jeffs to reporters, Piccarreta and Wright state in their motion. By speaking with reporters and other interested parties, Brower has waived his claim of privilege.

The court has not yet ruled on Piccarreta and Wright's motions.


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