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Elizabeth Smart To Confront Kidnapper In Court

Elizabeth Smart speaks outside the federal court house following the guilty verdict in the Brian David Mitchell trail Friday, Dec. 10 2010 in Salt Lake City. i i

Elizabeth Smart speaks outside the federal court house following the guilty verdict in the Brian David Mitchell trail Friday, Dec. 10 2010 in Salt Lake City. Colin E. Braley/ASSOCIATED PRESS hide caption

itoggle caption Colin E. Braley/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Elizabeth Smart speaks outside the federal court house following the guilty verdict in the Brian David Mitchell trail Friday, Dec. 10 2010 in Salt Lake City.

Elizabeth Smart speaks outside the federal court house following the guilty verdict in the Brian David Mitchell trail Friday, Dec. 10 2010 in Salt Lake City.

Colin E. Braley/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nine years after the abduction and captivity that scared parents everywhere, a poised and confident Elizabeth Smart will confront her kidnapper in court for the third and final time.

Now 23, Smart is scheduled to speak Wednesday during a sentencing hearing for Brian David Mitchell, the 57-year-old street preacher who kidnapped Smart from her Salt Lake City bedroom, held her for nine months and assaulted her daily.

The hearing is set for 4:30 p.m. ET in federal court in Salt Lake City.

Prosecutors are seeking life in prison for Mitchell, who was convicted in December of federal kidnapping charges and for taking the then-14-year-old across state lines for the purposes of illegal sex.

Smart testified at Mitchell's trial and at an earlier competency hearing that she was held as a polygamous wife.

In both appearances in court, Smart calmly and carefully described her abduction at knifepoint, the manipulative and maniacal behavior of her captor, nine months of daily rapes and an unexpected rescue on a suburban Salt Lake City street in March of 2003.

NPR has a timeline of the key events in the case here.

Smart told the Salt Lake Tribune she's not sure what she'll say to Mitchell when she has the opportunity to speak before his sentencing. The Tribune story includes video of an interview with Smart, who recently returned from a Mormon mission in France.

Mitchell's defense team has argued in court documents that the self-described itinerant prophet is not entirely responsible for his actions due to mental illness and should not receive the maximum sentence of life in prison. The defense failed to convince a federal judge in 2009 that Mitchell was so mentally ill he could not competently assist in his own defense.

Mitchell's federal public defenders also assert that his estranged wife, Wanda Barzee, shares some responsibility for the crimes. Barzee pleaded guilty to federal charges but she has argued that she was also dominated and manipulated by Mitchell.

Prosecutors counter that Mitchell faked mental illness, including the repeated practice of interrupting court sessions with incessant singing of hymns, coldly calculated the abduction and used religion as a pretense for sex.

Smart told the Salt Lake Tribune she's considering law school and how she might help other young victims of violent crime.

Update at 5:41 p.m. ET. The AP reports Mitchell has been sentenced to lifein federal prison.

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