The debate over records allegedly re-created by a midwife and used as evidence in the 2007 trial of polygamous sect leader Warren S. Jeffs intensified this week.
Jeffs’ defense attorneys — who released an interview with the midwife to support their claim — say Elissa Wall asked the midwife to forge records of a miscarriage Wall suffered in 2002. Wall’s attorneys say that she only "unwittingly" answered questions about the miscarriage when the midwife contacted her.
Warren Jeffs extradition hearing
Where » 3rd District Courthouse in West Jordan, 8080 S. Redwood Road
When » 2:30 p.m. Monday
In either case, as of Thursday a Utah Attorney General’s Office investigation into the matter is ongoing and prosecutors have not decided whether they will re-try Jeffs. This year, the Utah Supreme Court overturned his conviction for forcing the then 14-year-old Elissa Wall to marry her 19-year-old cousin in 2002.
Washington County District Attorney Brock Belnap said the medical records will be an issue if Jeffs, who is awaiting extradition to Texas on criminal charges there, is retried in Utah.
"It’s just something we’ll have to deal with in the course of that case," Belnap said.
Midwife Jane Blackmore, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, testified at Jeffs’ trial that Wall said she felt like she was being forced to have sex.
This month, Wall’s lawyers responded for the first time to the allegations that she "fabricated evidence."
"FLDS leaders have tried to create a tempest in this teapot without any basis for claiming that she committed perjury," attorney Roger Hoole wrote in a memorandum filed Nov. 2.
But Jeffs’ defense attorneys say Wall asked Blackmore to re-create the records in order to strengthen her case against Jeffs. On Thursday, Jeffs’ Arizona attorney, Michael Piccarreta, provided a transcript to TheTribune of an interview he conducted with Blackmore in April.
In it, Blackmore said she re-created the records in 2006 or early 2007. She says that she had the dates of Wall’s appointments in a book, but she couldn’t find the detailed records. She also told Wall the records were missing, and Wall asked her to reconstruct them.
"Elissa ... felt like it was quite important to have it, have something," Blackmore said in the interview. Wall was the only person she told about the missing records.
Asking Blackmore to re-create the records amounts to lying to the court, Piccarreta said.
"Having an accuser in a serious case conspire with a witness to create documents to help her case, that’s unacceptable and a crime," he said.
Attorneys also referenced the issue in a motion in Utah’s 3rd District Court that argues Jeffs should be retried in Utah before he is extradited to Texas on charges of bigamy, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault.
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