Elizabeth Smart Not All That Damaged: Defense
Kidnapper's attorney argues to prevent Brian David Mitchell from getting life sentence
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2011 10:50 AM CDT
Brian David Mitchell arrives at the federal court house Friday, Dec. 10, 2010 in Salt Lake City. Mitchell was found guilty Friday for the June 5 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.   (AP Photo/Colin E Braley)
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(Newser) – Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper shouldn’t get a life sentence, his attorney argued yesterday, because Smart isn’t all that psychologically damaged. “In a legal sense, the story is not the extreme psychological injury. The story is her overcoming the extreme conduct of my client,” said Robert Steele in a motion he filed in an attempt to get Brian David Mitchell’s potential sentence reduced. Mitchell held a then-14-year-old Smart for eight months and sometimes raped her numerous times a day, Fox News reports.

Steele, who admits Smart suffered some psychological damage but overcame it, used the victim’s own testimony to support his argument; Smart had referred to herself as a survivor. Though Smart’s family is upset by the move, one expert says it’s expected and will likely be denied: “If you’re a defense attorney, you want to make sure every stone was unturned,” he says. “I don’t believe Mitchell should benefit from the strength of this woman.”