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Elizabeth Smart was not severely damaged by kidnapping, defense lawyers claim

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) SALT LAKE CITY - Defense attorneys for Brian David Mitchell, the man convicted of kidnapping and raping Elizabeth Smart, say she is a "survivor" and wasn't significantly psychologically damaged by her 2002 abduction.

Pictures: Elizabeth Smart

The claim was made in a four-page court filing, in an effort to persuade a judge to give Mitchell a lighter sentence.

Attorneys for Mitchell say Smart hasn't suffered more than other victims of similar crimes.

"Even though there is extreme conduct on my client's part, Ms. Smart overcame it. Survived it. Triumphed over it. These are all words used by her and the government," said defense attorney Robert Steele to local station KSTU.

Elizabeth's father, Ed Smart, said the defense's claims are "outrageous," and clearly a legal maneuver, reports the station.

Mitchell, 56, was convicted of federal kidnapping and unlawful transportation charges in December. Smart was 14 in 2002 when she was taken from her home at knifepoint, raped and held for nine months.

Mitchell's sentencing is set for May 25 in Salt Lake City's U.S. District court. He faces life in prison.

Complete Coverage of Elizabeth Smart On Crimesider

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