Another former FLDS member takes the stand in federal discrimination trial
Richard Holm spoke with Mike Watkiss briefly before taking the stand Tuesday. (Source: 3TV)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -
It's a courtroom drama full of lots of familiar faces.
The Department of Justice's discrimination lawsuit against Hildale, UT and Colorado City, AZ is playing out in Phoenix’s federal court like reruns on TV. Many of the stories we have covered over the years are now significant components of the government’s case, which alleges that the twin border towns are controlled by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prophet Warren Jeffs and that they discriminate against community residents who are not devoted followers of his.
One man we have interviewed many times was called to the witness stand Tuesday morning. His name is Richard Holm.
Before being excommunicated by Jeffs, Holm was a pillar of the FLDS community. A lifelong resident, he served on the Colorado City town council. He even has a street in town named after him.
But when Jeffs began taking control of the FLDS church after his father’s death in 2002, he promptly began excommunicating many of the community’s most prominent and powerful men — men, like Holm, who the paranoid prophet clearly viewed as a threat.
Excommunication in the FLDS world is a very cruel pronouncement.
For Holm, like many men, it meant that he was shunned by all Jeffs' followers, his one-time friends and neighbors. Jeffs also gave Holm's family, his two wives and his children, to another man -- Holm's younger brother. Holm has said many times that it was a fate worse than death.
On the witness stand Tuesday, Holm told jurors his story and spoke of the post-excommunication harassment he said he has endured at the hands of Jeffs' faithful and the FLDS cops of the Colorado City Town Marshal’s Office.
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