The sexual assault trial of Warren Jeffs resumed Monday after a one-hour delay to review and reject a motion filed by the polygamist sect leader to have the longtime judge in his case, Texas District Judge Barbara Walther, removed.
Jeffs told the San Angelo, Texas, courtroom where his trial is being held today that a revelation from God prompted him to file the motion against Walther, whom he said God labeled "a woman of evil intent."
"I am to now recuse you from this case," Jeffs wrote in his transcription of the message he said was delivered to him by God on Sunday, according to the Associated Press. "Now sign order to recuse thyself; and allow this proceeding to stop ..."
Judge Walther was forced to call a recess in order to have an outside judge review the 16-page filing from Jeffs, forcing yet another delay in proceedings as the slow-moving trial began its sixth day.
Jeffs last week fired his attorneys and has been representing himself in court. Seven attorneys have appeared on his behalf since December. The switches contributed to a six-month delay to the start of his trial.
The motion filed by Jeffs today marked the third time the 55-year-old head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) has tried to recuse Judge Walther from his case.
Jeffs stands accused of sexually assaulting two underage girls in his sect and forcing them both into a "spiritual marriage." The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. He faces a separate trial on a bigamy charge in October.
The charges against Jeffs , the spiritual leader for the more than 10,000 members of the FLDS, a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism, were leveled after a 2008 raid on his sect's compound.
Judge Walther is the same judge who approved the raid on Jeffs' compound that led to his eventual arrest and the charges against him.
Monday's filing by Jeffs included what he said were 29 orders from the Lord when they spoke last week, including one in which God sent "a crippling disease upon (Walther) which shall take her life soon."
Walther, the Associated Press reports, contracted polio when she was younger and walks with a limp.
"I, your Lord, say to you, I shall bring to light your evil intent now, before all people, to destroy my church on earth," Jeffs wrote in the filing.
Just as with the rulings in the previous two motions, the visiting judge denied Jeffs' claims that Walther is biased against the FLDS Church he leads, allowing Walther to continue the trial under the new Texas Supreme Court rules that no longer require an immediate hearing to recuse a judge after evidence in a case has been heard. Walther said a hearing would be held later. The new rules just went into effect Monday.
The delay in the trial on Monday came on the same day that Jeff's brother, Lyle Jeffs, appeared in court as a spectator for the first time, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. Lyle Jeffs is the bishop of Short Creek, the branch of the FLDS church located in Utah-Colorado City, Ariz.