After a long investigation, bigamy charges will not be filed against Kody Brown and his four spouses, who gained prominence last year on TLC's show Sister Wives.
The Utah County Attorney's Office announced Thursday that it will not pursue a criminal case against the Browns, based on the office's interpretation of state law.
Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman said that his office has adopted a formal policy not to prosecute the practice of bigamy unless it occurs in conjunction with another crime or if parties to the marriage or relationship is under 18.
"The purpose of this policy is to prevent the future prosecution in Utah County of bigamist marriages entered into for religious reasons," Buhman wrote.
"The criminal case against the Browns is now closed, and no charges will be filed against them for bigamy," unless new evidence is discovered, he said.
Kody Brown and his four wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn, issued a statement Thursday, saying they are "delighted by the news that the prosecutors have formally declared that the investigation of our family is at an end."
"We have spent years under investigation and ultimately had to move from the state of Utah to protect our family and particularly our children," they said."The decision to create the new policy in light of our lawsuit is wonderful news for not just ourselves but the many thousands of plural families in Utah."
Attorneys for the Browns aren't dropping their challenge to the law. The Browns sued Utah last year, and attorney Jonathan Turley said that will continue.
"While I am pleased that the prosecutors are promising to leave this family alone, the decision will not end our challenge to the state law," Turley wrote.
Attorneys for the Browns filed an 80-page motion and Thursday "challenging the anti-bigamy law on seven distinct constitutional and statutory grounds."
In February, a federal judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to allow the Browns to pursue a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of Utah's bigamy law.
Should the Sister Wives cast have been prosecuted?