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Judge in Jeffs case asked to unseal papers

SALT LAKE CITY — News organizations and professional groups asked a judge Wednesday to unseal court papers in the case of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, who faces charges of rape by accomplice.

Lawyers for the media want 5th District Judge James Shumate in St. George to unseal a petition filed April 5 and an order the judge signed the same day. They also asked to be notified before any other court papers are sealed.

Shumate has postponed a motion hearing and trial in the Jeffs’ case without explanation. Prosecutor Brian Filter has attributed the delay to an unspecified legal proceeding.

Jeffs’ attorney, Walter Bugden, refused for a second day to comment on the reason for the delay. He also refused to respond to the media’s effort to unseal documents in the case. Shumate has declined to explain the delay or why the documents were sealed.

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