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Former FLDS Leader’s Trial Starts In West Texas

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MIDLAND (AP) - The bigamy trial of a former lieutenant to polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs is set to begin in West Texas.

Wendell Loy Nielsen is charged with three counts of bigamy. Opening arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning in Midland. Nielsen was one of 12 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who were indicted after a 2008 raid on their West Texas compound.

Nielsen faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Nielsen was once FLDS president and counselor to Jeffs, who is now serving a life sentence after being convicted last year of sexual assault.

FLDS teachings hold that polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. The mainstream Mormon church abandoned the practice of taking multiple wives more than a century ago.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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