Polygamous sect attorney calls Senate hearing biased

SALT LAKE CITY " An attorney for an embattled southern Utah polygamous church says a hearing today of the Judiciary Committee in Washington perpetuates a history of persecution against a religious minority.

In a letter to the committee, Salt Lake City attorney Rod Parker says it's unfortunate the panel will meet to discuss polygamy without allowing the subjects of the hearing to participate or respond.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid requested the hearing in an effort to get federal assistance to investigate the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for suspected crimes, including racketeering.

The attorneys general of Utah and Arizona and several former FLDS members have been called to testified.

Parker says the hearing takes place on the 161st anniversary of Salt Lake City's founding by Mormon pioneers. The faith was driven across the western plains in part by antagonists who abhorred the practice of polygamy by early followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The modern Mormon church denounces polygamy.

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