The world is still spinning today, and Lyle Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saint (FLDS) cult is still in prison for now, as well as his brother, Warren Jeffs. Lyle Jeffs had a hearing Wednesday, asking to be released until trial in May, facing food stamp fraud and money laundering charges.
Some rumors were that it had been prophesied within the sect that an earthquake would cause the walls of the Texas prison where Warren Jeffs, the FLDS prophet and supreme leader was held, to crumble and set Jeffs free.
April 6th is a pivotal day in the Mormon community. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints- known by many to be the mainstream Mormon religion was founded on that day in 1830, and it is recognized as the birthday of Jesus Christ by many Mormons, both in the mainstream church, and in the offshoot sects of the church, including the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints.
Elissa Wall, a former FLDS member who escaped from the community after Warren Jeffs forced her to marry her cousin when she was only 14, said, "I am hearing from people inside the FLDS that on April 6 there is going to be a kind of apocalypse. It is prophesied."
Lyle went before U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart on Wednesday, seeking to be released from jail until his trial. After several hours of arguments, Judge Stewart said he would make his ruling later, but didn't set a timeline of when that would happen. Jeffs' federal public defender, Kathryn Nester, says he is being treated unfairly because of his religious practices. He is the last suspect of 11 still in prison on charges of diverting at least $12 million worth of federal aid, such as food stamps. He was arrested on February 23rd.
The prosecutors argue that Lyle Jeffs is still in charge of the controversial polygamous sect, and that he would interfere with witnesses and skip out on future trials. They said that he obstructed justice to help Warren Jeffs remain a fugitive during the mid-2000s. Prosecutor Robert Lund said that his loyalty to his brother makes him a risk. He stated, "This defendant is openly defiant of the law. He does not respect civil authority."
Jeffs' defender argued that his religious beliefs were being held against him, and that prosecutors were using hearsay and stale evidence. She said that Jeffs was willing to accept the conditions of supervised release, part of which would be to live in a house in Provo about 275 miles north of his polygamous community to negate any worries that he would have an influence on witness testimony. She stated, "The lady of justice is blind for a reason." Later she added, "We are getting into sticky waters. Are we going to detain him because he practices polygamy?"
The hearing made no mention of the rumors of the apocalypse on Wednesday. Willie Jessop, former bodyguard for Warren Jeffs, who is now helping the government in this case said that the rumors seemed to be fueled by outsiders.