The daughter of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs has told her attorney ad litem in an e-mail to step aside. She sent a copy of the missive to the Salt Lake Tribune.
The teen, 16-year-old Teresa Jeffs, told the newspaper in an interview that Texas lawyer Natalie Malonis is restricting her visits with the people who matter most in her life and has barred her from corresponding with her father, who has been jailed since 2006. The disagreement has created a rift with Malonis.
“The most help you will be to me now is for you to step aside and let me get a different lawyer that I feel like can help me,” Teresa Jeffs said in the e-mail.
Malonis has succeeded in getting a temporary order barring Teresa Jeffs from contact with Willie Jessop, a spokesman for the polygamous sect, the newspaper reports. Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday.
Malonis told the paper she is trying to keep the girl free of outside influence. “Right now, that’s not happening,” Malonis said. “There is no question I am absolutely looking out for her. … What’s happening is really a shame because people who purport to care about her are really doing her a disservice.”
Texas law requires attorneys ad litem to represent their clients’ position in court, unless the clients are not acting in their own best interest, according to the story. Malonis has said in court papers that police believe Teresa Jeffs was spiritually married to an older man when she was 15.