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Polygamy

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Texas polygamist sect men want evidence tossedBy MICHELLE ROBERTS (AP) â€" 5 days agoSAN ANTONIO (AP) — Ten men from a polygamist sect asked a judge on Monday to bar prosecutors from using thousands of documents seized from their West Texas ranch during their trials, saying law enforcement did little to verify the domestic abuse hoax on which the raid was based.The men's attorneys argued in court documents that Texas Rangers used fake calls to a domestic violence hot line as an excuse to rummage through the Yearning For Zion Ranch in April 2008.

The men claim it was an unreasonable search and seizure.The men, who belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, face various charges including bigamy and, in some cases, sexual assault of a child.

The first trial could begin in October.Texas Rangers and other law enforcement conducted the weeklong raid acting on phone calls from a woman who falsely claimed to be a pregnant 16-year-old mother who was beaten by her husband.

Thousands of pages of church documents, family photos and writings by Warren Jeffs, the sect's jailed leader, were seized from the ranch.Lead defense attorney Gerald Goldstein, in documents filed in an Eldorado court, said law enforcement failed to do an even basic investigation because they had been looking for an excuse to search the compound where roughly 700 people lived."Under the guise of looking for a man they should have known was not there and a child that did not exist, the Texas authorities conducted a general search to see what they could find," Goldstein wrote, summing up four days of testimony in May.It's not clear how soon Texas District Judge Barbara Walther might rule on the motion to suppress.The Attorney General's Office has yet to file a response to Monday's filing, but asked Walther in June to find that law enforcement believed the calls were legitimate at the time of the raid.The arguments filed Monday cover all the defendants except the sect's doctor, who faces only misdemeanor charges, and Jeffs, who is jailed in Arizona awaiting trial on allegations that he arranged underage marriages.

He was previously convicted as an accomplice to rape in Utah.The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believes polygamy brings glorification in heaven.

It is a breakaway sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which disavowed polygamy more than a century ago.The pending criminal trials are separate from the child custody case — one of the largest in U.S.

history — that ended with nearly all the children allowed to live with their mothers.Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press.

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