Watch CBSN Live

Warren Jeffs wants to be martyr: ex-FLDS member

Warren Jeffs has always claimed to be a minister of God, and on Friday, he turned a Texas courtroom into his own place of worship as he delivered a 55-minute tirade, chastising those who were prosecuting him for the sexual assault of two minors.

He threatened, "I will send a scourge upon the counties of prosecutorial zeal to make humbled by sickness and death."

Ex-FLDS member: Warren Jeffs "partially crazy"

Former Federal prosecutor Laurie Levenson told CBS News, "No longer is it really a trial. He just wanted an occasion to give a sermon."

Jeffs also decided to fire his lawyer and is now representing himself.

The behavior of the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, former FLDS member Elissa Wall said, is "expected."

"Warren Jeffs has never had to rationalize his behavior and (has) grown up his entire life being able to display this erratic, narcissistic behavior, and not have any consequences to it. And the judge holding him to a line will be good for him. ... This is kind of his last stand and his last show, and he has an entire people he has to prove a point to."

Jeffs was convicted in 2007 of being an accomplice to rape in Utah, but the charge was later overturned.

In the current trial, CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reported, Jeffs claims polygamy is his religious right, but prosecutors say they will present audio tapes in which he can be heard raping an underage girl.

"Religion is not on trial here," Levenson said. "You can have a religion - but that doesn't entitle you to rape a 12- or a 13-year-old."

Wall, who says she was abused as a member of the sect, said on "The Early Show" that Warren has always used religion as his defense, "whatever he chose to do or force people to do."

"No matter how he destroyed families or destroyed people's lives, he always excused it with, 'This is the word of God, this is the will of God.' I really think that in part of Warren, he believes that he is an extension of God, and God on this earth."

When asked if Jeffs understands the seriousness of the charges against him, Wall said he may at some point have a reality check.

"Honestly, at this point, maybe that is what's going on and now he is just wanting to become that martyr," she said. "He would often make himself akin to that of Joseph Smith (the founder of the Mormon faith). He is going down in a blaze of glory."

After Friday's outburst, Judge Barbara Walther adjourned court and advised Jeffs to speak with his fired lawyers about proper court decorum.

If Jeffs is found guilty, he faces a possible sentence of life in prison.