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Sweat lodge prosecution admits error

CAMP VERDE, Ariz., July 14 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Arizona's so-called sweat lodge trial have filed a motion admitting they made an error during the trial but saying it was harmless.

In response to James Arthur Ray's defense counsel's strong objection to the playing of an audio clip during the Yavapai County district attorney's closing argument, the prosecution filed a motion Monday admitting an error that they said "resulted in no prejudice to the Defendant," the Verde Independent of Cottonwood, Ariz., reported.

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Ray, self-help author and speaker, was convicted June 22 on three counts of negligent homicide with the aggravating factor being that each death caused emotional harm to the family of the deceased.

Because the jury did not conclude Ray caused the deaths for monetary gain, playing the clip of Ray saying "isn't that why you made the investment to be here," was harmless, the motion says, adding that the prosecution did provide evidence to prove that monetary gain could have been a factor.

Ray is free on bond pending a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 25, at which his sentencing options range from probation to as much as nine years in prison.

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