- Associated Press - Thursday, September 22, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Polygamous sect members accused of food stamp fraud won’t be required to testify at an upcoming hearing in which they will attempt to persuade a judge they were following religiously rooted communal living practices and not breaking the law.

U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart issued an order Thursday doesn’t see the need to force them to discuss delicate areas of their lives. Their attorneys will instead speak on their behalf.

Judge Stewart is still requiring the defendants to be in the courtroom for the Oct. 4 hearing.

Federal prosecutors wanted the suspects to take the stand so they could test the sincerity of their beliefs.

Attorneys for 11 suspects facing fraud and money laundering charges have asked Judge Stewart to throw out at least part of the case based on the argument the actions were constitutionally protected.

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