Confident Elizabeth Smart delivers strong testimony; detective who confronted her in '02 calls event 'traumatizing'

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 10 2010 6:00 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — In addition to being a child rapist, liar and manipulator, Brian David Mitchell is a hypocrite, according to Elizabeth Smart.

Even though Mitchell may have called himself a prophet, called himself Immanuel and preached religion, he was not a man of God, she said.

"Everything he did to me and my family is something I know God would never tell someone to do. I know God would never tell someone to go kidnap a young girl from her sister's bed," Smart testified Wednesday. "He would never tell you to rape her, to sexually abuse her. I know God loves me. … I know we have free agency, for us to choose. I never had free agency for those nine months. I know God would never do something like that."

That response by Smart came near the end of her three days on the witness stand, and was delivered with confidence, conviction and a little more passionately than other parts of her testimony Wednesday.

After nearly nine hours of testimony and cross-examination spanning three days, Smart was able to step down from the witness stand Wednesday.

On her final day testifying, Smart discussed much less about the sexual abuse she incurred while being held captive for nine months and more about the way Mitchell manipulated people, the way he bragged when he felt he had succeeded in manipulating people, and how he was a very careful planner who knew what he was doing.

Mitchell would try to convince Smart to do what he wanted by telling her God had given him a revelation that she should do certain things, and by giving her blessings. But Smart said the priesthood blessings she had received in the LDS Church prior to being kidnapped were never like Mitchell's.

"He always told me God had something to tell me, like clean up around the camp, to be there sexually for him," she testified. "The blessings I had always received were blessings of comfort, reassurance that I have my choices and I can make the right choices, compared to the blessings the defendant tried to give me. He told me what to do. He never said I had my agency to choose. It was all very dictative."

Mitchell's primary concern over the nine months Smart was kidnapped wasn't his religion, but rather "sex and alcohol," she testified.

"Did he ever put his faith before his own well-being?" assistant U.S. attorney Felice Viti asked.

"No," Smart said with conviction.

"Did he show concern for you?" Viti asked.

"No," she replied.

When asked what Mitchell was like when he was drunk, she said, "I think his behavior was similar to when he was sober only it would intensify a bit. He was crude and vulgar and self-serving. He was his No. 1 priority for sex, drugs and alcohol, but he used religion in all those aspects to justify everything."

When asked about sexual abuse, Smart said Mitchell at one point told her, "I would become accustomed and learn to love it."

During her 30 minute cross-examination, Smart was noticeably more defiant when questioned by defense attorney Robert Steele. She was not hostile or rude, but answered Steele with an attitude that she was not going to let anyone dispute her story of what happened to her.

The defense did not question Smart about any of the horrific abuses she incurred, instead focusing most of their questions about what Mitchell said about religion, his views on lymphology, and what might have been going through his head when he planned his other kidnapping attempts.

Steele questioned Smart about whether Mitchell knew he would be caught when they returned to Utah from California. One of Mitchell's reported beliefs was that he would be caught upon returning to Utah and become a martyr.

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