Judge in FLDS trial falls ill, wheeled out of court

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Federal Judge Russel Holland is wheeled out of the courthouse after falling ill on the bench Monday morning. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Federal Judge Russel Holland is wheeled out of the courthouse after falling ill on the bench Monday morning. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
The judge is loaded into an ambulance. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) The judge is loaded into an ambulance. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The judge presiding over the FLDS discrimination trial was taken to the hospital after falling ill on the bench during Monday morning’s proceedings.  

The Honorable H. Russel Holland, 79, gave a “thumbs up” sign from his stretcher to our reporter Mike Watkiss as paramedics loaded the judge into an ambulance.

The nature of his illness was not known.

The trial, which started on Jan. 19, was entering its sixth week.

Department of Justice lawyers continue to press their case that the twin border towns of Hildale, UT, and Colorado City, AZ, are controlled by the FLDS church and that non-FLDS residents face extreme discrimination and other ideologically-based persecution.

Earlier Monday morning, Sgt. Sam Johnson  with the Colorado City Marshal's Office, took the stand for the defense and denied FLDS leaders have any control over local police.

Last week, defense attorneys called a series of witnesses to dispute the DOJ's claims.

On Thursday, jurors again heard from Colorado City Town Manager David Darger, who was on the stand for a third day.

Darger told jurors that he could "feel the animosity" of the government lawyer.

During the afternoon court session, the defense called to the stand a young police officer from the Colorado City Town Marshal's Office.

Deputy Daniel Musser told jurors "no (FLDS) church leader told him to apply to be a police officer."

"Religion isn't a question," Musser told the court.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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