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Polygamous Sect Man Asks To Write Leader Warren Jeffs

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SALT LAKE CITY (CBSDFW.COM/AP)A lawyer for a member of a Utah polygamous sect accused in a food stamp fraud case is pushing back against a condition barring him from writing to imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs. Jeffs was the head of the Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Defense attorney Scott Williams said in court documents Monday that his client Preston Barlow believes writing Jeffs is essential to his eternal salvation.

Williams says the monthly letters maintain a connection to the man he considers a prophet, though they aren't directly answered.

The condition was added after Barlow was arrested on suspicion of violating his pretrial release by being near two co-defendants.

Defense attorneys denied the allegations and Barlow was released.

Sect leader Lyle Jeffs is also among the 11 sect members accused in the scheme, but escaped home confinement in Salt Lake City nearly two months ago.

More than 400 children living at the YFZ Ranch in West Texas were swept into temporary state custody during a raid in April of 2008. Twelve members of the church, including sect leader Warren Jeffs, went on to face charges of bigamy, sexual assault or both.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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