Federal discrimination trial against 2 polygamist towns wraps up; jury deliberating

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The future of the twin border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, now rests in the hands of a jury.

On Wednesday, lawyers for the Justice Department and the twin towns presented their closing arguments in the DOJ's discrimination lawsuit.

Justice Department lawyer Sean Keveney reminded jurors of weeks' worth of testimony and evidence that Keveney argued proved that the FLDS church and it's imprisoned prophet Warren Jeffs control Hildale and Colorado City and use the municipal governments, the utilities and the police force to discriminate against community members who are not FLDS faithfuls.

They "violate the most basic civil and constitutional rights," Keveney said.

"Rights are trampled upon by city officials," he said.

Keveney frequently used the word "conspiracy" to describe what he said was a "pattern and practice of misconduct" and abuse.

During his closing, Colorado City's defense attorney Jeff Matura acknowledged problems in the community best known for the practice of polygamy, but blamed those problems on the FLDS Church not on the two towns' governments.

"The (federal) government hopes you are going to punish the towns for the conduct of the church," Matura said.

Blake Hamilton, the attorney representing Hildale, took it even further, saying, "Warren Jeffs and the FLDS church have victimized a lot of people, not the towns."

Jurors will now try to figure out who is telling the truth.

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


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