SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Lawyers for polygamist leader Warren Jeffs have asked the Utah Supreme Court to overturn his accomplice to rape conviction.
At a hearing Tuesday, Warren Bugden Jr. argued Jeffs should have been charged with performing an illegal marriage, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Bugden said there is no evidence Jeffs believed Elissa Wall would be subjected to non-consensual sex when he married her, at the age of 14, to her 19-year-old cousin.
Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, a dissident Mormon group, was convicted on two counts of accomplice to rape and sentenced to 10 years to life.
Assistant Attorney General Laura Dupuix argued the charge was appropriate because Jeffs ordered Wall to marry her cousin and performed the ceremony, telling the couple to "be fruitful and multiply." When Wall later asked him to annul the marriage, he told her "to submit mind, body and soul" in her marriage, Dupuix said.
Jeffs also faces criminal charges in Arizona. About 6,000 FLDS members live in the twin communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.