The Latest: Polygamous leader Lyle Jeffs let out of jail

AP News
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Posted: Jun 09, 2016 12:56 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on polygamous sect leader Lyle Jeffs' request to be let out jail pending trial on food stamp fraud charges. (all times local):

10:55 a.m.

Polygamous sect leader Lyle Jeffs is being let out of jail pending trial on accusations he helped orchestrate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme.

U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart in Salt Lake City on Thursday granted Jeffs' latest request to be released, citing the fact that the other 10 defendants already out have complied with conditions set by the court.

Jeffs will be required to stay in Salt Lake County and wear a GPS monitor. He is prohibited from talking with witnesses, co-defendants and his brother, imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs.

Lyle Jeffs was the only defendant still behind bars among 11 people indicted in February on charges of diverting at least $12 million worth of federal benefits.

Prosecutors objected to his release, saying he wields enormous power and that witnesses will be scared to cooperate with government investigators.

Lyle Jeffs' attorney, Kathryn Nester, said her client's constitutional rights would have been violated if he had to stay behind bars until trial, currently set for October.

All the defendants have pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering charges.

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9:18 a.m.

Polygamous sect leader Lyle Jeffs is due in court Thursday to ask a judge to let him out of jail until a trial begins on charges he helped orchestrate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme.

Lyle Jeffs' attorney Kathryn Nester says her client's constitutional rights will be violated if he's kept behind bars until trial, currently set for October. Jeffs has been in custody since mid-February.

The 10 other defendants have been granted supervised release. They have all pleaded not guilty.

In April, U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart denied Jeffs' previous request to be let out. Stewart said he agreed with federal prosecutors who argue Jeffs can't be trusted to adhere to conditions of release because of his loyalty to his brother, imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs.