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Wisconsin kidnapping suspect appears in court

Court Watch     updated  2014/05/20 11:22


The woman charged with kidnapping her 5-day-old nephew from Wisconsin and leaving him overnight in freezing temperatures outside an Iowa gas station said in federal court that she asked for a lawyer but wasn't granted one during FBI questioning.

Kristen Smith, 32, made her first statements Thursday since pleading not guilty to taking Kayden Powell from a Town of Beloit home where she was staying when she left in the middle of the night for her home in Aurora, Colorado, in February.

Hours later, Iowa police arrested Smith for an outstanding Texas warrant and took her to the county jail for processing. While there, FBI agents questioned her about the missing newborn and conducted a polygraph test. Attorneys disagreed Thursday about whether interviews with police and the FBI should be used in an eventual trial.

Defense attorney Matt Noel said none of Smith's interviews the first day with FBI agent James McMillan should be allowed in the courtroom because the FBI didn't read Smith her rights. Noel also said Smith was coerced into providing incriminating evidence without an attorney, and that Smith was forced into taking the polygraph test, which agents say showed Smith was being deceitful.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Pfluger said officers read Smith her rights before her arrest and later during questioning and the polygraph test. She also showed video clips of McMillan interviewing Smith.

The clips showed that Smith was upbeat and cooperative early on, and that she permitted agents to search her car and phone. McMillan told Smith her behavior was suspicious after she gave a wrong password to unlock the phone.

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