'Sister Wives' Family Speaks Out on Possible Bigamy Charges

Family attorney fights back, saying charges would be unconstitutional.

ByDAN HARRIS and KELLY HAGAN via via logo
October 14, 2010, 8:54 PM

Oct. 15, 2010 — -- The members of the polygamist Brown family, featured on the TLC show "Sister Wives," spoke out for the first time Thursday about potential felony bigamy charges that could land the parents in jail.

"I don't even want to think about that at all," Christine Brown, one of Kody Brown's four wives, said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show". "We never asked for the state to give us any sort of acknowledgement or anything for our family."

In Utah, where Kody Brown and his four wives raise their 16 children, bigamy is a third-degree felony and those convicted could see up to five years in prison. Prosecutors haven't decided whether to criminally charge the Browns, but a new, high-octane attorney for the family has already launched a preemptive strike, declaring any potential charges "unconstitutional."

Police in Lehi, Utah, reportedly launched the investigation in September after fielding complaints from locals who were unhappy about "Sister Wives."

Recently, the police handed the results of their investigation over to prosecutors, who now are weighing whether to file charges.

The Browns' new attorney, Jonathan Turley, is already arguing that previous prosecutions of polygamists involved charges of child abuse or child brides, charges that don't apply to the Browns' case.

Browns Knew Legal Risks

Before the investigation, Kody Brown and his wives told ABC News the family was aware of potential legal troubles, but thought starring in the show was worth it to help their lifestyle gain acceptance.

"But what we'd rather say is, 'Raising children in a closed society could cause a lot more damage than any kind of legal process,'" Christine said.

Kody echoed that motivation on Oprah.

"We figured that by showing our lives, we'd actually help the society be more transparent, have other people in the lifestyle feel safer about being transparent," Kody said.

But the risks have gone beyond the purely legal. Kody Brown claimed in the new edition of People magazine that the show has hurt his career as an ad salesman when clients chose not to give him accounts because of his controversial fame.

And on "Oprah," one of Brown's wives revealed that she'd been fired from her job in mental health as a result of the show.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events