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Path cleared for re-start of Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial

From CNN's Ann O'Neill and In Session's Jean Casarez
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Elizabeth Smart kidnap trial to resume
  • NEW: The trial will resume Monday morning
  • An appeals court lifted its temporary stay on the trial
  • The judges rejected the defense request for a mistrial
  • Brian David Mitchell is charged with kidnapping Smart in 2002

Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) -- A federal appeals court cleared the way Friday for the resumption of the trial of Brian David Mitchell, the man charged in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.

Mitchell, 57, is charged with snatching then-14-year-old Smart at knife-point from her family's Salt Lake City home early on June 5, 2002. In court papers, his lawyers have indicated they will raise an insanity defense.

The three-judge panel vacated the temporary stay it issued Thursday, which halted the trial just after the defense had begun its opening statements in a Salt Lake City federal courtroom.

The trial will resume Monday at 8:30 a.m., the court said Friday.

Defense lawyers asked for a mistrial so the proceedings could be moved to another city, arguing "serious error and irreparable harm" could come because of juror belief in Mitchell's "factual guilt" before hearing any evidence.

Smart is scheduled to be the prosecution's third witness following her mother, Lois, and sister, Mary Katherine.

  • Elizabeth Smart
  • Kidnapping
  • Utah

Smart was abducted before dawn on June 5, 2002, and led to a campsite that "was her prison for the next four months," Assistant U.S. Attorney Felice Viti said in his opening statements Thursday. She was stripped, dressed in a robe and brought into a tent for an impromptu "wedding." And then, the prosecutor said, she was raped.

In the months that followed Smart's disappearance, her anguished parents, Ed and Lois, became a familiar sight in the media as they continued to plead for their daughter's safe return.

But no one expected what happened in March 2003, when Smart was found walking down a street in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy in the company of Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee.

Mitchell, a drifter and self-described prophet who called himself Emmanuel, had done some handyman work at the Smarts' home.

Utah prosecutors charged Mitchell with six felony counts of kidnapping, sexual assault and burglary. But in July 2005, a Utah district judge ruled him incompetent to stand trial, leaving him in custody at the Utah State Hospital.

The state case against Mitchell was put on hold when federal authorities stepped in. A grand jury in 2008 indicted Mitchell and Barzee. Judge Dale Kimball in March found Mitchell competent to stand trial.

Barzee, 64, pleaded guilty in federal court in November 2009 to kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor and was sentenced in May to 15 years in federal prison. She also pleaded guilty but mentally ill in state court to conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping in an attempt to kidnap Smart's cousin a month after Smart was kidnapped. She was given a sentence of one to 15 years, to be served concurrently with the federal sentence and given credit for the seven years she had spent in custody.

As part of her plea agreement, Barzee agreed to cooperate in the state and federal cases against her husband. However, her name does not appear on a witness list filed by federal prosecutors -- and does appear on a list of witnesses filed by the defense.

Mitchell's attorneys earlier attempted unsuccessfully to move his trial, saying it should be held outside of Utah because publicity in the case had prejudiced the pool of potential jurors against him and jeopardized his right to a fair trial.