Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) -- A federal appeals court halted the trial of a man accused in the 2002 kidnapping of Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart just as it got under way Thursday in order to review the defense's request to move the trial outside the state.
Brian David Mitchell, 57, is charged with snatching then-14-year-old Smart at knifepoint from her family's Salt Lake City home early on June 5, 2002.
On Wednesday, Mitchell's attorneys filed a petition with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, asking it to force the federal court to move his case outside Utah -- and to halt the trial while it considered that request. The court agreed to the request for a stay Thursday. The appeals court denied an earlier change of venue motion, filed October 26, as premature.