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Mitchell's Lawyers Seek More Restrictions for Competency Hearing

Mitchell's Lawyers Seek More Restrictions for Competency Hearing



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Attorneys for the man accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart have asked for further exclusion of reporters and their attorneys during consideration of competency issues.

The attorneys for Brian David Mitchell already were asking that his mental competency hearings be closed to the media and public.

They now also have asked that media attorneys be excluded from in-chambers discussions about the portions of the competency hearings to be closed.

Despite news organizations' claims of First Amendment rights, what they really want are lurid details of a salacious case, the attorneys argued.

A hearing on the request is set for April 1.

Meanwhile, Mitchell's wife and co-defendant, Wanda Eileen Barzee, finally was transferred from jail to the Utah State Hospital on Wednesday for treatment to restore her to competency.

Barzee, who has been found incompetent to stand trial, has waited in jail for more than two months for a bed at the institution. Prosecutors said she might have gotten in sooner if her attorneys had not delayed signing an order to get her on the waiting list. Her attorneys said it was the prosecutors' fault for putting in wording that was not part of the judge's order.

Mitchell, 50, and Barzee, 58, are charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated kidnapping.

Prosecutors allege Mitchell kidnapped then 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart from her home on June 5, 2002, to make her become his second wife. She was found in the couple's company nine months later.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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