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Elizabeth Smart praised for poise, confidence and courage

By Brooke Walker | Posted - Dec. 10, 2010 at 6:31 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Family and attorneys praised Elizabeth Smart for her courage and poise while recounting her nine-month nightmare. It was the same calm manner she demonstrated in an interview with KSL's Brooke Walker in 2009 at Smart's home. Walker is one of the few reporters to actually interview Elizabeth Smart, who agreed to an interview on her then-new assignment as an LDS missionary to France.

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"The calm and composed woman we saw today outside of the courthouse is the same Elizabeth Smart I met in 2009," Walker recalls. "She is an amazing woman who, remarkably, has moved beyond what happened to her and has a clear sense of who she is."

Smart spoke to the crowd gathered outside the courthouse following the guilty verdict of her kidnapper Brian David Mitchell:

"First of all, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who had put so much work into my case. Today is a wonderful day and I'm so thrilled to be here and I'm so thrilled with the verdict," Smart said. "But not only that, I'm so thrilled to stand before the people of America today and give hope to other victims who have not spoken out about what's happened to them. I hope that not only is this an example that justice can be served in America, but that is it possible to move on after something terrible has happened and that we can speak out and we will be heard. Once again thank you so much. I am excited to go back to France and continue my mission. Thank you to everyone for everyone's praise and support."

While the focus of the 2009 conversation was on her upcoming mission to France, Smart did speak passionately about the fact that it was her faith in God that helped her navigate through the unexpected twists and turns in her own life.

"I knew whatever could happen to me, whatever happens to me, I will always be with my family. I know that there is a God and He loves us and that no matter what people can take from you, or do to you, or harm you, they can't take that away from you," Smart told Walker in 2009.

Perhaps Smart's own words can best summarize her thoughts and feelings on the happenings of Thursday and the guilty verdict against Mitchell. To a close, select group of friends who follower her on Twitter, just moments before the verdict was read Smart said, "I am truly blessed."

E-mail: bwalker@ksl.com

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Brooke Walker

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