SAN ANGELO, Texas -- A Texas family law expert tells jurors that polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was never legally married to two underage girls he is accused of sexually assaulting.
The 55-year-old Jeffs leads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.
University of Texas law professor John Sampson says Jeffs married both girls as part of his church's tradition but the marriages weren't legal under state law. Sampson testified Tuesday as the 22nd witness for the prosecution, which is close to resting its case.
Jeffs claims his rights to religious freedom are being trampled. He is defending himself but gave no opening statement, hasn't cross-examined any state witnesses and isn't expected to call witnesses in his defense.