SALT LAKE CITY

Smart testifies: ‘I thought I was having a nightmare’

Elizabeth Smart recalls not being able to make out the threat, only the feel of a cold knife at her neck.

As the then-14-year-old lay in bed, the man repeated: “Don’t make a sound. Get out of bed and come with me, or I will kill you and your family.” She was his hostage, he told her.

“I thought I was having a nightmare,” Smart, now 23, told jurors Monday on the first day of testimony in the federal trial of Brian David Mitchell, the man accused of kidnapping her in June 2002.

That night, they fled into the hills above her home.

Nine months later, motorists spotted Elizabeth Smart walking in a Salt Lake City suburb with Mitchell.

His attorneys did not dispute the facts of the abduction. But during opening statements, they said the prosecution’s allegation that he was a calculating person who planned the kidnapping was wrong.

Mitchell was influenced by a worsening mental illness and religious beliefs that made him think he was doing what God wanted, his attorneys said.

Mitchell, 57, faces life in prison if he is convicted.

NEW YORK

Olbermann back on the air, apologizes to fans, not NBC

Keith Olbermann apologized to his fans — but not NBC News — on Monday for the “unnecessary drama” surrounding his two-day suspension for making political donations.

The “Countdown” host complained that he was being punished for mistakenly violating an inconsistently applied rule that he had known nothing about. He said he learned from the media he was being suspended after being assured that form of discipline wouldn’t be taken.

Olbermann was suspended without pay Friday by his bosses at MSNBC, a suspension they announced two days later would be lifted. He’s due to return to work today.

The left-leaning cable network’s most popular personality acknow-ledged giving $2,400 apiece to the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords.

NBC News bars its employees from making political donations unless an exception is granted in advance by the network news president. Olbermann’s bosses said they didn’t know about the donations until being told about them by a reporter.

An MSNBC spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Olbermann’s statements. Phil Griffin, the network’s chief executive, has not spoken publicly about the issue.