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Prosecutors say witnesses will show Mitchell is faking

Prosecutors say witnesses will show Mitchell is faking



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Federal prosecutors have lined up witnesses in an attempt to prove that Brian David Mitchell is faking psychological problems to avoid prosecution for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a brief Tuesday asking that the lay witnesses be allowed to testify at a competency hearing for Mitchell. Prosecutors want to show that Mitchell's insanity can be turned on and off at will. Professionals have split in their opinions of whether he is competent to stand trial.

The Tribune reports the witnesses would include Mitchell's relatives, former neighbors, and people Mitchell talked with at the Utah State Hospital-- even discussing case strategy. Other witnesses include several people who say they were molested by Mitchell as children or teens.

Mitchell's defense team has objected to having lay testimony be allowed in court to determine Mitchell's competency. But federal prosecutors say lay testimony is the key to finding out who Mitchell really is.

Mitchell, 55, and his wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee, 63, are charged with abducting Smart from her Federal Heights home on June 5, 2002. Police arrested them in March 2003 in Sandy.

Mitchell's two-week competency hearing is set for Nov. 30.

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