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AG, Utah County attorney to discuss ‘Sister Wives' case

By Jennifer Stagg | Posted - Oct. 18, 2010 at 4:45 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

LEHI -- The season finale for the reality show "Sister Wives" aired Sunday night. The Brown family now faces legal troubles and a job loss, and that could be simply because they decided to go public.


I think everybody involved with that show knew the risk going in, and we'll soon find out how big that risk is.

–Paul Murphy, AG spokesman


#mur_quote

On Monday, officials at the Utah County Attorney's Office confirmed they will be meeting with prosecutors from the Utah Attorney General's Office to discuss possible charges of bigamy against Kody Brown and his wives.

"I think everybody involved with that show knew the risk going in, and we'll soon find out how big that risk is," said Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Utah Attorney General's Office.

Before the TLC reality show "Sister Wives" hit the airwaves, the show's producers called the attorney general's office. Murphy said he told them polygamy is against the law but that the office doesn't have the resources to prosecute every case. Instead, prosecutors focus on polygamists who are also committing other crimes.

"There could be as many as 30,000 polygamists in the state of Utah," Murphy said. "To investigate a polygamy case takes as much time as it does to investigate a child abuse case; and so for simple resources we've decided to go after the most serious crimes, and that's child abuse, incest, fraud and domestic violence."

All four of Kody Brown's wives were over the age of 18 when they married Kody. But just because Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and his team won't go after a case like the Brown's doesn't mean Lehi City and the Utah County attorney won't, if they can find evidence it's happening.


Everybody still decided that the benefits of what we could do far outweighed any of the risks.

–Janelle Brown, Kody Brown's 2nd wife


#jan_quote

"Right now we're looking at the bigamy aspect of it. As the investigation goes on, we'll see where it goes from there," said Lehi police Lt. Darren Paul.

The Utah County Attorney's Office is now screening charges. Prosecutors there are scheduled to meet with Shurtleff this week to discuss the case. The evidence could be what viewers across the country are seeing when they flip on the TV.

"Twenty years ago I married Meri. Then 17 years ago I married Janelle, and 16 years ago I married Christine," Kody Brown explains in the show.

Bigamy is a felony in Utah; and in addition to legal woes brought on by their now public lifestyle, first wife, Meri Brown, told Oprah during an interview she has now lost her job.

Before the show debuted, Janelle Brown said the family weighed the possibilities.

"Everybody still decided that the benefits of what we could do far outweighed any of the risks," Janelle Brown said.

The Utah County Attorney had no comment Monday, other than to confirm he is meeting with the Utah Attorney General's Office about the case.

E-mail: jstagg@ksl.com

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Jennifer Stagg

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