Seth Jeffs will go on trial in January
DENVER - The younger brother of fugitive Warren Jeffs pleaded not guilty in federal court on Thursday to charges that he has helped the polygamous leader elude a nationwide manhunt.
Seth Steed Jeffs, 32, will go on trial in January for acting to "knowingly harbor and conceal Warren Steed Jeffs," according to a one-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in Denver this week.
Dressed in a black coat and slacks with a blue shirt, Jeffs did not speak during the brief proceeding before U.S. Magistrate Judge O. Edward Schlatter, but entered his plea through his lawyer.
Seth Jeffs, of Hildale, Utah, was arrested Oct. 28 in southern Colorado and cited for soliciting a prostitute after the driver of the vehicle he was riding in, Nathaniel Steed Allred, told police that Jeffs had paid him $5,000 for "sexual services," according to a report from the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office.
An FBI arrest affidavit said a subsequent search of the vehicle uncovered items frequently used by fugitives and led to the harboring charges against Seth Jeffs.
Among the items found were $7,000 worth of debit cards, prepaid phone cards, seven cellular telephones and a total of $142,000 in cash in envelopes addressed to Warren Jeffs or in a donation jar labeled, "Pennies for the Prophet."
Warren Jeffs, 49, is considered a prophet by the estimated 10,000 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a polygamous sect that broke with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after that church rejected plural marriage in the late 19th century.
Warren Jeffs has been on the FBI's most wanted list since fleeing after an Arizona grand jury indicted him in June for allegedly forcing a 16-year-old girl to wed a married 28-year-old man.
He also faces a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Seth Jeffs, who is free on a $25,000 property bond, was accompanied to Thursday's hearing by another brother, Lyle Jeffs. Outside the courtroom, Seth Jeffs answered quietly, "No, I don't," when asked by The Tribune whether he wished to comment on his case or his brother's whereabouts. His attorney, Daniel Smith, likewise declined to make a statement.
Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver, told reporters that prosecutors "are prepared to go to trial," which is scheduled to begin Jan. 9. If convicted of the harboring charge, Jeffs faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.