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Sect leader warns of 'death' to 'those who prosecute the church'
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs declined to give an opening statement Thursday after firing his attorneys in his sexual assault trial.
July 29th, 2011
08:30 PM ET

Sect leader warns of 'death' to 'those who prosecute the church'

San Angelo, Texas (CNN) - A Texas judge warned Warren Jeffs against calling "for the jury's destruction" shortly after the polygamous sect leader said Friday during his sexual assault trial that those who prosecuted his church would face "sickness and death."

The comments that precipitated the warning to Jeffs, who has been granted the right to represent himself, occurred around midday after Judge Barbara Walther had sent the jury out of the San Angelo courtroom.

"I, the Lord God of heaven, ask the courts to cease the prosecution of my holy ways," Jeffs said. "There will be a judgment against all those who prosecute the church. ... I shall let all people know of your unjust ways. I will bring sickness and death. Let this cease."

Walther then told him that "if you call for the jury's destruction" while the jury - who will decide if Jeffs is guilty on two counts of sexual assault on a child - is present, "you will be removed from the courtroom."

The defendant responded by saying, "I am not threatening. I am releasing a message."

The exchange was one of several contentious ones Friday, when the one-man defense team ended his self-imposed silence by repeatedly interrupting prosecutors and launching into a diatribe on religious freedom.

Jeffs' trial stems from a 2008 raid on a ranch near Eldorado, Texas, run by his church, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This trial addresses the two sexual assault counts, while Jeffs is expected to be tried later on a related bigamy charge.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 29th, 2011
08:08 PM ET

Letters to the President: #921 'One step forward . . . one back . . .'

Reporter's Note: President Obama has vowed to strike down the GOP plan to deal with the debt ceiling, but the House Republicans passed it this afternoon anyway.

Dear Mr. President,

Did you see House Speaker John Boehner this afternoon? Wow. Talk about fired up. The speech he gave on the floor was crazy fired up, especially for him, because as you may know, he’s not exactly a lightning bolt kind of guy. But then I suppose you can’t blame him.

He was really up against it with his tea party pals. They have held his feet to the fire over this whole affair, and to be frank, in a one-off way they’ve done the same to you. Now, of course, the question is: What’s next?

I have the feeling that even Machiavelli might find all the possible twists and turns a tad daunting. As a practical matter it seems as if what this really means (since your whole team says the measure passed this afternoon is going to be killed) is that now everyone can get serious about real and final negotiations. And I suspect the biggest player at the table now is going to be the clock.

I don’t mean just in a “wow, time is running out so we better get busy” way. But rather, I have the feeling that the clock will now start giving cover to people on both sides of the aisle. After all, when you are playing chicken with a catastrophe, bailing out too soon just makes you look silly, but bailing out too late looks foolhardy, and the entire DC crowd is bordering pretty darn hard on the latter.

So I suspect what we’ll be hearing a lot now from both parties is, “We are working out a final deal. It is not the deal we want. But heck, the sky is about to fall, what else could we do?”

Fair enough. As long as we get past this crisis so we can finally turn our attention to the next one.

Regards,
Tom

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1
Beat 360° 7/29/11
President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during an event announcing new auto fuel economy standards at the Washington Convention Center July 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
July 29th, 2011
07:26 PM ET

Beat 360° 7/29/11

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!

Staff
Vladimir Duthiers
“The audacity of nope."


Viewer

Annie
“Debt ceiling Plan D ... first, Michelle, what's the limit on my Mastercard?"

Beat 360° Challenge


Filed under: Beat 360°
July 29th, 2011
01:57 AM ET

Raw Politics: Can Obama invoke 14th Amendment?

Editor's note: CNN's Jeff Toobin discusses the possibility that Pres. Obama could act unilaterally to avoid a default on U.S. debt.

Related: House vote on GOP debt plan delayed


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
July 29th, 2011
01:51 AM ET

Video: In debt fight, what's the next move?

Editor's note: Jessica Yellin and Jeffrey Toobin discuss what the White House and the Senate may do next about the debt ceiling.

Related: House vote on GOP debt plan delayed


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
July 29th, 2011
01:49 AM ET

Raw Politics: House Republican wants systemic reform

Editor's note: Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Illinois, explains why he wants a balanced budget amendment.

Related: House vote on GOP debt plan delayed


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 29th, 2011
01:39 AM ET

Raw Politics: Who's to blame for debt ceiling debacle?

Editor's note: Democrat Cornell Belcher and Republican Carly Fiorina discuss the politics of the debt ceiling debate.

Related: House vote on GOP debt plan delayed


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
July 29th, 2011
01:35 AM ET

Video: Boehner doesn't have enough GOP support

Editor's note: Anderson Cooper, John King, and Gloria Borger discuss the late decision not to have a vote on the Boehner debt bill.

Related: House vote on GOP debt plan delayed


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
July 29th, 2011
01:30 AM ET

Video: Debt is the problem, says Rep. Ron Paul

Editor's note: Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, explains why he will not vote in favor of the debt ceiling bill crafted by House Speaker Boehner.

Related: House vote on GOP debt plan delayed


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics • Ron Paul
Vote on Debt Plan Delayed: Join the Live Chat
July 28th, 2011
09:47 PM ET

Vote on Debt Plan Delayed: Join the Live Chat

There's still no vote on House Speaker John Boehner's plan to cut the deficit. Could it happen tonight? Stay with us for the breaking news.
Plus, tonight's other headlines.

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)


Filed under: Live Blog
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