- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY | The man accused of abducting Elizabeth Smart was a crude, vulgar, self-serving person who used religion to justify his actions, including her kidnapping and rape, she told jurors on her third and final day of testimony.

“He was his number-one priority, followed by sex, drugs and alcohol, but he used religion in all of those aspects to justify everything,” Miss Smart said in a clear voice.

She finished her testimony Wednesday morning after just 15 minutes of cross-examination by a defense lawyer for Brian David Mitchell, an itinerant street preacher accused of taking her from home knifepoint on June 5, 2002, when she was 14.

Mr. Mitchell, 57, is charged in federal court with kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines. If convicted, he faces a life sentence. His defense attorneys contend he exhibits escalating mental illness and holds extreme religious beliefs that lead him to think he is directed by God.

Miss Smart gave a spirited rejection of that contention on the stand Wednesday, calling Mr. Mitchell a hypocrite.

“Nine months of living with him and seeing him proclaim that he was God’s servant and called to do God’s work and everything he did to me and my family is something that I know that God would not tell somebody to do,” she said. “God would never tell someone to kidnap her at knifepoint from their bed, from her sister’s side … never continue to rape her and sexually abuse her.”

Now 23, Miss Smart was found in March 2003 with Mr. Mitchell.

In previous testimony, she said during those nine months that she endured almost daily rapes and was forced to drink alcohol, use drugs and view pornography.

On the night of her kidnapping, Miss Smart said Mr. Mitchell led her to a mountainside camp above Salt Lake City, where she was stripped of her red pajamas and dressed in white robes before being forced to marry him in a quickie ceremony Mr. Mitchell performed himself.

Mr. Mitchell also repeatedly threatened that Miss Smart, her family, or anyone who tried to help her would be killed if she ever tried to escape.

Much of Wednesday’s testimony centered on Mr. Mitchell’s use of religion and his writing, “The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah,” a rambling tome that outlines his own brand of religions that mixes Bible teachings, the early doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and New Age philosophers.

During a short cross-examination, Miss Smart was asked by federal public defender Robert Steele whether Mr. Mitchell’s use of prayers and blessings seemed familiar to her own Mormonism. Miss Smart said there was some similarity, but he used verbal prayers to manipulate her to “be able to rise to the occasion and fulfill my wifely duties. That is about the farthest thing from my prayers.”

Mr. Mitchell was not in the courtroom to hear to hear Miss Smart testify. As on each previous day of the trial, he was removed for disrupting the proceedings by singing hymns. He watches the trial on closed-circuit television from a holding cell.


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