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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Elizabeth Smart Press Conference

Aired July 12, 2002 - 13:07   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We are going to take you now live to Salt Lake City for the daily briefing on the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart. Ed Smart, her father, at the podium.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ED SMART, FATHER OF ELIZABETH SMART: ... I have been down at the police department, that I have taken a polygraph test to prove to you that I am innocent.

And we finalized our conversation, and Richard went on his way, and I wished him the best. I don't feel that there was ever a time where there was animosity between the two of us. I never knew that Richard took those items, and I never felt that we were on bad terms.

At this point in time, finding that Richard did take these items, finding that Richard did go into the Adams' (ph) home while everyone was home, and took those things, can't help but make me feel that there is a possibility that Richard is involved.

I would ask Richard, from the bottom of my heart, for any empathy or sympathy that Richard has for our family, that he would be forthcoming, that he would not come after the fact, which has been the case, in telling us the truth of the situations. I would ask him to come forward to clear himself with the police, to answer the questions that he has. When I hear that the mechanic, who has no criminal background, came forth and spoke about the car, there is no reason for him to lie, and say that that car was taken. I would like Richard to answer those questions.

If he has any feeling, I would ask him to come forward, answer -- clear himself. The police have said they would clear him right off the list of suspects if he would answer those questions. I don't know if Richard is answering truthfully. The questions that I have had him answer in the past have not been answered truthful, although I took them as being truthful. I would ask him to please step forward. I don't know if there's any related issues, or other related issues in his life to not facing answering the questions about the car, but I would ask him to please step forward, show the kindness, go the extra mile that I felt that I have gone with him, and answer these questions and either clear himself, or tell us where Elizabeth is.

I -- our family has been through hell, and I would like an end to this, and if whoever is out there, if it happens to be that Richard is not the one, that he will please come forward and contact us. We need Elizabeth back. I still feel that Elizabeth is out there, and she needs our help. She needs to come back to comfort, to our family. And I would ask that the contact be made, or that Richard come forward. I need you, Richard. I need you to contact and clear yourself out of this. I don't want to believe it's you. The whole way through this -- this -- all of the issues, I have had faith in you enough, and I have not held any resentment, but this point in time, I would plead with you and ask you to answer the questions and be truthful. I don't want to hear, after the fact, that what you have said is not truthful. Please answer truthfully, and answer is my plea.

QUESTION: Ed, you said it's possible that he is involved. What does your gut say?

SMART: I honestly don't know. I mean, I can't help but feel that he's involved after all of the things that have come forward. I -- you know, I think I mentioned to you the other day that I didn't foresee him as being the person, but I also never had any inkling of his background at any time until the police told me about these felonies, and his previous prison convictions.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SMART: As I previously stated, there was a contractor -- who he had not worked for, but who said he seemed competent, in talking him and interviewing him, and I came about him by this reference.

QUESTION: You said that he told you that he took a polygraph to clear his name (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Is that true?

SMART: No. That was not true. That was a lie, and he was very adamant about that.

QUESTION: Can you tell us what sort of questions you feel Mr. Ricci has not answered (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

SMART: Certainly. Richard has not been forthcoming in answering where the car was, what the car was doing away from the shop when the repairman indicated that Richard came and picked the vehicle up at the end of May, until -- what was it, June 8, when it was returned.

QUESTION: Now (ph), do you feel that -- I mean, the police have said that he has been (ph) forthcoming with answers...

SMART: I want you to clarify yourself. The police have not said that. You remember who said that. Do you remember who said that? You were right here, or you -- whoever was at the press conference and said that his attorney said that he was forthcoming.

You know, I don't believe that he has -- he hasn't been forthcoming with me. Every step of the way, I have given him the benefit of the doubt, and he has not been forthcoming.

QUESTION: And would you like him to contact you? SMART: I would like him to contact the police. He doesn't need to contact me. I would be happy to meet with Richard. I would be happy to talk to Richard, but what I would like is for him to be forthcoming with the police.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SMART: I didn't indicate there were three questions. If Richard would come forth, and answer the questions that the police have regarding the vehicle, where it was, that would be fine. I would just like him to exonerate himself from having anything to do with this, and the only way he can do that is by -- to me, is by answering the questions regarding the car.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) do you believe (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

SMART: I don't know. I have no idea. Yesterday, he indicated a sorrow, an apology, and I would hope that he would do that. I would -- I -- you know, I don't want to believe that Richard was involved. I mean, that Richard would have the nerve to come into our house, and to take one of my daughters, because that is one thing that I just haven't been able to come to grips with. Who would be willing to come into my house -- Richard knows my daughters. I mean, he doesn't know them intimately, but he knows them, he knows how sweet and how good they are. And I would just -- I would just ask him to come forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we just take one more, this is the last question.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... Elizabeth?

SMART: What?

QUESTION: Any of the items that he has allegedly stolen...

SMART: No.

QUESTION: ... from Elizabeth?

SMART: No.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SMART: I don't know. I don't know.

PHILLIPS: Ed Smart, father of missing 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, struggling with the betrayal of trust, as you can see. I think that's the first time I've seen him break down while addressing reporters.

Basically coming out and saying that he thinks that Richard Ricci possibly is involved in the disappearance of his daughter. The fact that he's been charged with theft and he has been in their home, and knows the daughters, he's pleading now for Richard Ricci to come forward, and be honest and tell the whole truth. Says he's not resentful, but he is asking, with all of his heart, that Richard Ricci just be truthful.

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