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Prosecution Begins Rebuttal Testimony in Elizabeth Smart Trial

The prosecution began rebuttal testimony today in the trial of Brian David Mitchell, the man accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002 when she was 14-years-old and subsequently holding her captive for nine months. During her captivity, Smart lived and traveled with Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, and Mitchell sexually assaulted Smart almost every day. Mitchell is currently on trial for federal charges of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines.

As reported in previous posts, Mitchell's defense attorneys do not dispute the facts of the case, but they dispute why Mitchell committed the crimes. It has been a fascinating case to watch in the news because of Mitchell's attorneys' interesting defense strategy, as well as the way Mitchell is portrayed completely differently by both sides.

While the two sides agree on the facts of the case, the prosecution has portrayed Mitchell as a cruel and self-centered master manipulator, while his defense attorneys have portrayed him as suffering from severe mental illness and unable to tell right from wrong.

The defense rested its case last Thursday and today the prosecution began rebuttal testimony. Mitchell's attorneys presented the insanity defense for their client, saying that he did not knowingly commit crimes. Today, the prosecution offered testimony from several witnesses who were meant to refute that perspective.

The prosecution called police officers, mental health workers, prison guards and acquaintances of Mitchell's. The underlying commonality between all the testimonies was of a man who was able to play a character and to come in and out of character to suit his own ends.

Both sides say they will wrap up their cases by Friday. If Mitchell is convicted, he faces up to life in prison.


Guard: Mitchell 'very attentive' during Barzee's testimony (The Salt Lake Tribune)

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