Arizona Family, January 26, 2011
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Defense attorneys for a self-help guru facing manslaughter charges are asking a judge to keep two of the state’s witnesses from testifying at trial.
James Arthur Ray’s attorneys say the testimony of a man who studies cult behavior and a corporate risk management expert is irrelevant and would distract the jury.
Ray has pleaded not guilty to three counts of manslaughter stemming from the deaths of three people following a sweat lodge ceremony he led near Sedona in 2009.
Prosecutors say Ross will explain why participants felt they couldn’t leave the ceremony, and Steven Pace will speak to safety measures.
If Ross’ testimony is allowed, prosecutors want the judge to prohibit the defense from bringing up his criminal history or cult deprogramming practices.
Ray’s trial is set to begin Feb. 16.