Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs interrupted his Texas child sexual assault trial on Friday, shouting that his religious rights were being violated and warning the court it was stomping on "sacred ground".
"This is not a fly-by-night religious organization," Jeffs shouted in front of the startled jurors in the San Angelo courtroom, referring to the breakaway Mormon sect he leads.
"You are stomping on sacred ground. You are treading on a people of peace. This religion deserves protection. The government of the United States has no right to infringe on the right of a peaceful people. The mockery must cease. This religious persecution must cease."