- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal challenging a lower-court decision that allows the founder of the Minuteman border-watch movement to personally cross-examine two young girls he’s accused of molesting.

On Tuesday, the state’s high court denied the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office’s petition without comment. But because the denial was without prejudice, prosecutors can seek another appeal.

A spokesman for the county attorney’s office said the state still has the option of returning to the Arizona Court of Appeals to challenge the high court’s ruling under a different standard of evidence.

Meanwhile, a Phoenix lawyer appearing on behalf of one of the alleged victims said Wednesday that he plans to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorney Jack Wilenchik also said he’s seeking a delay to the early April trial date set by a county Superior Court judge.

The trial of Chris Simcox already has been delayed numerous times.

Simcox is accused of sexually abusing two girls under the age of 10 in 2012 and 2013. He was arrested in 2013 and is representing himself in his case although he isn’t a lawyer.

Earlier this year, Simcox announced plans to personally question the girls while they’re on the witness stand.

Prosecutors and the victims’ attorneys objected, saying Simcox would be trying to intimidate and manipulate the girls.

The Arizona Court of Appeals concluded in May that the state didn’t provide evidence the victims would be hurt by cross-examination by Simcox.

The Minuteman movement stepped into the spotlight in 2005 as illegal immigration heated up as a national political issue and Minuteman volunteers fanned out along the nation’s southern border to watch for illegal crossings and report them to federal agents.

But the movement splintered after Simcox and a co-founder parted ways and headed up separate groups.

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