SALT LAKE CITY — A follower of jailed polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs is asking a Texas court to rehear an appeal of his conviction on sexual assault charges that came after a 2008 raid on a church-owned ranch.
Michael Emack contends that a second search warrant used by police to seize church and family records during a raid on his church's Eldorado, Texas, ranch was invalid. In court papers filed Tuesday with the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin, attorneys for Michael Emack said the court failed to consider that the information used to justify the warrant was wrongly based on the misrepresentations of state family services workers who interrogated dozens of ranch children. The attorneys also said it should be considered "fruit of the poisonous tree."
Authorities used the records from the Yearning for Zion ranch to bring charges against 12 Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints men, including the faith's president and prophet, Jeffs. Emack, 60, was the first to be prosecuted.
An initial warrant allowed authorities to enter the 1,691-acre ranch. The second sought a broader search of all buildings, temples, temple annexes, places of worship, vaults, safes, lockboxes, locked drawers, medical facilities, structures, places and vehicles.
In August a three-judge appeals court panel upheld the validity of both warrants as part of Emack's initial appeal of his conviction.