SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — A West Texas court has denied a defense motion to remove state District Judge Barbara Walther from the trial of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.

Lawyers for the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had argued that Walther exhibited body language that biased jurors during trials of other sect members.

But presiding District Judge John Hyde of Midland rejected the request Tuesday.

In a subsequent hearing, the defense asked to delay the start of the trial now set for July 25. Hyde has yet to rule on that motion or a change-of-venue request.

Jeffs faces sexual assault of a child and bigamy charges but only retained a lawyer in late January, and his legal team seeks more time to prepare.