Colorado City mayor Joseph Allred continued his testimony Thursday morning in the Cooke civil rights lawsuit. And just as he did Wednesday afternoon during a trial in U.S. District Court for Arizona, Allred refused to answer any questions whatsoever. Instead, after each question, Allred cited his Fifth Amendment rights and “declined to answer.”
Here are just some of the things attorneys for the Cookes — who claim they were discriminated against for not being members of polygamous The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — asked Allred about:
• An alleged plan by the church and the towns to make up a water shortage in order to prevent outsiders from coming into the community.
• An alleged effort among church security to put the Cookes under surveillance in order to “dig up dirt” on them.
• Ongoing alleged use of municipal utility funds for private expenses, including those that were “priorities” of the FLDS Church.
• An alleged meeting in which former FLDS security officer Willie Jessop told city officials they could end up being prosecuted for misusing public funds.
• Allred’s alleged participating on FLDS security forces while serving in city government.
• The FLDS Church’s alleged use of municipal surveillance cameras.
• The alleged participation of local law enforcement officers in church security efforts, including while those officers were on duty.
• Allred’s alleged failure to report the local police to Arizona or Utah law enforcement certification boards for their participation in church security efforts.
• Whether or not Ron Cooke is considered an apostate by the FLDS Church.
• Whether Allred has been instructed to avoid apostates.
• Whether or not the towns “have in fact discriminated against the Cookes” and other non-FLDS people in the community.
Allred was on the stand for nearly an hour and a half Thursday, including a brief cross-examination by Colorado City attorney Jeff Matura. Allred similarly refused to answer most of Matura’s questions. Still, much as was the case with the Cooke’s attorneys, the questions themselves seemed to be the point. Among other things, Matura used his questions to point out that:
• Allred wasn’t the mayor when the Cookes arrived in the community or when they filed their lawsuit.
• Allred was not responsible for developing the town’s water policy.
• The local water authority is a private company that the towns don’t control.
• Various letters presented by the Cookes attorneys in an effort to prove discrimination don’t actually mention the Cookes.
— Jim Dalrymple II