Polygamist leader Jeffs seeks judge's recusal

June 13, 2011 - 6:43 PM

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — Attorneys for polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs are asking for removal of the judge in his upcoming trial.

The legal team for the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints alleges that the body language of state District Judge Barbara Walther influenced jurors in past trials of sect members.

Witnesses called during a hearing Monday in San Angelo included attorneys for those sect members, who have been convicted of such crimes as sexual assault of a child and bigamy. Some contend Walther rolled her eyes and otherwise gestured frustration with the defense.

State District Judge John Hyde of Midland is presiding over the hearing Monday.

Jeffs' oft-delayed trial is to begin July 25, but a hearing Tuesday will determine whether it's delayed further.