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Mayor refuses to testify in suit against polygamous towns

Attorney says couple who are suing Hildale, Colorado City caused their own problems.



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The city attorneys believe the entire issue stems from battles over land, with the Cookes acting as pawns to help the UEP subdivide and sell off property. Hamilton also pointed out that the Cookes learned how to file a civil rights lawsuit at a meeting of Safety Net — a group that deals with challenges in the polygamous community — and filed before ever bothering to pay their fees or fill out their utility applications.

But William Walker, who represents the Cookes, painted a different picture Wednesday. When he questioned Jinjer Cooke, she said she didn’t trust the police and their reports don’t represent their actual treatment of the family. She also said she didn’t move into a friend’s home or dig a well — both things Hamilton brought up — because she needed to stay in Arizona for her husband’s disability benefits and because officials told her she wasn’t allowed to tap into the ground water on her own.

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Later, Jinjer Cooke said she didn’t comply with city policy because she was always given "the runaround" and denied the information she needed.

Most of Walker’s questions came a day earlier when Jinjer Cooke first took the stand, but he reiterated his point Wendesday with a question: "Do you feel as if the problems you’ve had were the result of religious discrimination?"

"I know that they were," Jinjer Cooke replied.

The Cookes and their attorneys are expected to finish their case Thursday, at which time attorneys for the cities will begin calling their witnesses.

jdalrymple@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jimmycdii




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