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Judge Rejects Bid To Call Off Sweat Lodge Hearing

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James Ray was arrested on Feb. 3, 2010 for the deaths at an Oct. 8, 2009 ceremony intended to be the highlight of his five-day "Spiritual Warrior" event. (credit: Yavapai County Sheriff's Office)

James Ray was arrested on Feb. 3, 2010 for the deaths at an Oct. 8, 2009 ceremony intended to be the highlight of his five-day “Spiritual Warrior” event. (credit: Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office)

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CAMP VERDE, Ariz. (AP) – A judge has rejected a request to call off a mitigation hearing in the case of a self-help author who led a sweat lodge ceremony that turned deadly.

A weeklong hearing that starts Sept. 19 will help determine how long James Arthur Ray could spend incarcerated. A jury found Ray guilty of three counts of negligent homicide. He faces anything from probation to nine years.

Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow denied the defense request Thursday.

Ray’s attorneys argued that they have not been able to arrange travel for what could be 27 witnesses because of the uncertainty over a pending defense motion for a new trial.

Darrow heard arguments on that request last month but has not ruled on it.

Three people died following the 2009 ceremony near Sedona.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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