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Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs' tactics slow sex assault trial

Warren Jeffs
Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs arrives at the Tom Green County Courthouse, Thursday, July 28, 2011, in San Angelo, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

(CBS/AP) SAN ANGELO, Texas - Warren Jeffs has succeeded in dramatically slowing down his trial on child sex assault charges, as the church elder who already spent hours testifying is expected back on the stand.

Jeffs, who had largely remained silent during the trial, gave a surprise opening statement Wednesday by quoting scripture at length. He then asked jurors to remember his religious freedoms. This all came shortly after Texas prosecutors played an audio recording they say was of Jeffs having sex with a 12-year-old girl, and then rested their case.

Jeffs is accused of sexually assaulting both the 12-year-old and a 15-year-old girl he had taken as "spiritual wives."

Jeffs is representing himself and had largely remained silent during the trial. But he spent four hours Wednesday asking JD Roundy general questions about the church, often pausing for several minutes between questions.

More testimony from Roundy is expected Thursday.

Jeffs, the 55-year-old head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and his followers, believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.

Complete coverage of Warren Jeffs on Crimesider