Lawyers for entities connected to the Kingston polygamist clan have filed an unusual petition with a federal appeals court in their fight to keep documents from being disclosed in the Washakie Renewable Energy criminal case.
In papers filed Monday, attorneys representing the Davis County Cooperative Society, the Latter-Day Church of Christ and 10 businesses sought a writ of mandamus from the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
If granted, the writ would immediately stop the release of thousands of documents seized Feb. 10, 2016, during searches tied to a criminal investigation of Washakie Renewable Energy and four Kingstons who now face charges in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
The dozen entities — described as intervenors in the criminal case — say their documents have no connection to the Washakie case. They say release of their documents would violate attorney-client privilege and disclose trade secrets.
The writ of mandamus is a potentially quicker action to keep their documents secret than a separate appeal they filed Feb. 14. In that appeal, the clan entities seek to overturn rulings by two judges in Salt Lake who rejected motions to prevent disclosure of the documents.
Both matters are now in the hands of the Denver court.
Meanwhile, the criminal case continues against Washakie co-founders Jacob and Isaiah Kingston; Rachel Ann Kingston, their mother; and Jacob’s wife, Sally Louise Kingston. The overall scheme alleged by prosecutors is a $511 million defrauding of the government via biofuels tax credits.
In the 2016 searches, agents combed Washakie’s offices and those of United Fuel Supply, another company controlled by Jacob and Isaiah Kingston.
The rest of the searches occurred at offices of the entities prosecutors have said represent key operations of the clan, which is also known as The Order and has thousands of members in Western states.
Documents the entities want to keep secret “bear no relation” to the criminal charges against the four Kingstons, the clan business attorneys said in their latest court filing.
The two groups “are entirely separate entities with no overlap in business or corporate structure or ownership” and there’s no allegation that the intervenors had any involvement in the alleged money laundering and tax fraud schemes, they said.
Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells ruled Jan. 17 that she would not stop use of the case documents because prosecutors and defense attorneys were proceeding under a protocol that requires them to “cease reviewing” any privileged item when they come across one.