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The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an allegation of dishonest testimony about medical records of the state’s key witness during the 2007 criminal trial of FLDS polygamous sect prophet Warren S. Jeffs.
According to a sheriff’s report, the investigation began in January after Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap was informed that a witness “had lied” about medical records presented during Jeffs’ accomplice to rape trial. The case was based on a 2001 spiritual marriage Jeffs performed between Elissa Wall, then 14, and Allen G. Steed, then 19.
Wall testified during the trial she objected to the arranged marriage but Jeffs, then a counselor in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, ignored her pleas.
Jeffs was convicted in September 2007 and is currently serving two five-to-life sentences in Utah. He is also awaiting trial in Arizona on charges related to two underage marriages — one based on Wall’s case — he performed.
Steed was charged with rape shortly after testifying as a defense witness during Jeffs’ trial but his case is on hold while a judge mulls whether the charge was brought too late.
The claim that Wall’s medical records were falsified was disclosed last week in a flurry of defense filings in Jeffs’ Arizona case.
During Jeffs’ 2007 trial, Wall testified she had several failed pregnancies while married to Steed.
Jane Blackmore, an ex-wife of polygamist
Winston Blackmore and midwife in Bountiful, British Columbia, testified about treating Wall for a miscarriage in 2002; a medical record was submitted as part of Blackmore’s testimony.
According to a sheriff’s investigative report, Belnap was told by Shannon Price that a witness “had lied during her testimony at the Warren Jeffs trial.”
The witness’ name is redacted from the report filed in Arizona, but the defense motion refers to “false testimony given” by Wall.
Price is director of The Diversity Foundation, a nonprofit founded by ex-FLDS member Dan Fischer that assists teens who have left the polygamous sect.
Fischer also funded three lawsuits filed by former FLDS youth, including Wall’s multimillion dollar civil lawsuit, that targeted the sect’s United Effort Plan Trust. The youth are represented by Salt Lake City lawyers Roger and Greg Hoole.
In his report, Washington County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jake Schultz said Price was told by Lamont Barlow, Wall’s current husband, the medical records had “all been created in one day, to make it look like she had seen a caretaker on several different occasions.”
Price was unable to detail what testimony was untruthful or what specific medical records Barlow was referring to, Schultz’ report states.
On Monday, Schultz confirmed the investigation is ongoing.
Based on the new information, Michael Piccarreta, Jeffs’ Arizona attorney, is now pressing to interview Price and re-interview Barlow, who is also represented by the Hooles.
In a court filing, Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith describes the allegation as based on “at least four layers of hearsay” and is a “non-issue” in Jeffs’ Arizona case because Wall did not testify about medical care or records during the 2007 trial.
Blackmore testified that while treating Wall for a miscarriage in December 2002 the young woman was distraught and said she felt like she was being forced to have sex and that her husband “wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
Copyright (c) 2010, The Salt Lake Tribune
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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