A relative of one of the five men kidnapped in Baghdad in an armed raid at the Finance Ministry last May makes a new appeal for their release.
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BY MALLORY PERRYMAN
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The jury didn’t buy Brian David Mitchell’s insanity defense. After just five hours of deliberation, a federal jury found Mitchell guilty of kidnapping then 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart and taking her across state lines to engage in sexual activity. Most in the media agree- justice was served.
JANE VALEZ-MITCHELL: “I thought ‘Eureka!’ Finally! After eight years somebody is standing up and saying we do not buy this ridiculous act…No, we’re not going to buy this insanity defense because obviously he knew right from wrong because he hid her. He threatened to kill her.” (HLN)
Smart, now 23, took the stand as the prosecution’s star witness. MSNBC’s legal analyst Paul Callan says- after that- Mitchell didn’t stand a chance.
PAUL CALLAN (Former prosecutor): “When you have a horrific crime like this one…I don’t think there’s sympathy that gets raised with any jury. So the chance of this insanity defense succeeding on this fact pattern I think was just never there.”
A Fox News legal analyst adds, Mitchell’s “insane act” was convincing inside the courtroom- but his performance was inconsistent.
MERCEDES COLWIN (Legal analyst): “It’s interesting because during testimony over the course of the trial, the marshals took the stand and said ‘He was lucid at various points in time.’ When he was coming into the courtroom he was whistling and singing but as soon as he was in the backroom outside the presence of the jury he sits down, takes a nap, puts earplugs in his ears. He was acting very sane outside of the courtroom.
Fox’s Megyn Kelly wanted to know- was it necessary to force Smart to relive her nightmare in front of the jury? Legal analyst Arthur Aidala (I-dolla) says yes- because even though it doesn’t technically undermine Mitchell’s insanity defense- it tugged at the jurors’ hearts.
ARTHUR AIDALA (Legal analyst): “When you have human beings who have hearts and souls and they want to do what they think is right. When you have such a sympathetic person like Elizabeth and such heinous crimes that were committee upon her, a lot of times one way or the other, jurors take the law into their own hands. They do what they think justice dictates and here obviously that’s what they did.”
So what now? MSNBC talked to one defense attorney who says – appeal is possible, but at the end of the day, this case is closed.
JOE TACOPINA (Defense attorney): “They will appeal because they have to. But from what I know about this trial, I don’t think there are any viable appellate issues.
The jury recommended the maximum sentence for Mitchell- life in prison. His sentencing is set for May 25th, 2011. As for Smart, she’ll return to Paris, where she’s busy with mission work for the Mormon Church.
JANE VALEZ- MITCHELL: “She is the ultimate example that it really doesn’t matter what cards you’re dealt, it’s how you play them….really what an inspiration to the entire world. Put your own problems in perspective and look how she has emerged triumphant from all of this.”
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