Smart kidnapping trial to resume after seizure

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A former street preacher on trial for kidnapping and assaulting Elizabeth Smart was expected to be back in court Wednesday after he suffered an apparent seizure in the courtroom and was rushed to a hospital.The incident Tuesday occurred as the jury was about to be called to the courtroom to hear another day of testimony in Brian David Mitchell’s federal trial on charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for the purposes of illegal sex.If he is convicted, Mitchell could spend the rest of his life in jail.Mitchell was sitting between two defense attorneys when he stopped his daily hymn singing and drooped forward in his chair. Then he let out a long, loud wail as his body twisted to the left.Removed from the court on a stretcher, the 57-year-old former street preacher looked pale and frightened, his eyes wide and round – in court he usually keeps them closed – and both fists clenched.Mitchell’s former stepdaughter, Rebecca Woodridge, said Mitchell has a history of seizures and was hospitalized after an incident on Dec. 29, 2009. He refuses medical treatment, said Woodridge, who visited Mitchell at the Salt Lake County Jail on Tuesday night.”He looked sick, he’s so pale,” Woodridge told The Associated Press. “I asked him why he won’t let (doctors) treat him and he said its because the pain he’s experiencing is a test of his strength from the Lord. He said, ‘I can’t go against the Lord’s will.'”Woodridge also said Mitchell told her he had been disoriented after Tuesday’s seizure, but had been returned to the jail by about 2 p.m.”He said that if he wasn’t incarcerated, he could heal himself with lymphology and the right diet,” Woodridge said, referencing a natural healing practice Mitchell has subscribed to since the 1990s.Smart testified earlier that she witnesses Mitchell lose consciousness after experiencing a seizure during her nine months of captivity.”He was in the middle of raping me and he experienced a seizure,” Smart said during cross examination by defense attorneys.Jurors were not told Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball why the proceedings were suspended and only heard that unexpected issues had arisen.The trial is in its fourth week and is expected to last until Dec. 10.On Wednesday, defense attorneys are expected to continue to question medical experts who have evaluated or attempted to treat Mitchell since his arrest in 2003.The defense doesn’t dispute the facts of the kidnapping, but contends that Mitchell is mentally ill and cannot be held responsible for his actions.Prosecutors believe Mitchell is faking a mental illness to avoid prosecution.Smart was 14 when she was abducted from her home at knifepoint on June 5, 2002. She was recovered nine months later disguised in wig and sunglasses and walking a suburban Salt Lake City street with Mitchell.Now 23, Smart has testified that she was forced to enter a polygamous marriage with Mitchell, endured near daily rapes, was forced to use drugs and alcohol, and was taken to California against her will.

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