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SALT LAKE CITY -- A trial began in Phoenix Wednesday in a civil-rights lawsuit that says municipal officials loyal to a polygamous sect on the Utah-Arizona border denied a household water connection to a family that doesn't belong to the church.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Arizona Assistant Attorney General Sandra Kane accused the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of using public utilities as a weapon of discrimination.

Kane says Ronald Cooke was denied a water hook-up when he returned with a family in 2008 to his boyhood town of Short Creek- a collective name for Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

Lawyers for the towns insisted in opening arguments that a water shortage was the reason for refusing service.

The trial is expected to last eight weeks.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune,

Associated Press,

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