Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News
An attorney has been appointed to represent Kimberly Fields Smith, a Fort Worth mother accused in the abduction of her 11-year-old daughter that led to a multistate Amber Alert.
The attorney for a Fort Worth mother accused of kidnapping her daughter and taking her to New Mexico is urging people to keep an open mind about the case.
Fort Worth police issued a multistate Amber Alert for 11-year-old Jessica Smith earlier this month after she disappeared from her home with her mother, Kimberly Fields Smith.
New Mexico state police found them on the side of a highway in northern New Mexico on Feb. 12, five days after they disappeared from North Texas.
Jeff Stewart was appointed Tuesday as Kimberly Fields Smith's attorney. He said he met with her in the jail Tuesday afternoon, hours after he was appointed.
He would not comment on what they discussed but said people should keep an open mind about what Smith did.
"We are very interested in ascertaining all the information so we can present both sides of the story, because Miss Fields is very concerned about the welfare of her children," Stewart said.
During the Amber Alert, police said Smith suffered from a deteriorating mental illness and had assaulted her daughter the night before they disappeared.
Stewart said it was too early to say if he will use her mental condition as a defense.
"All the information we've received from the police has not always proved to be true in the long run," he said. "Even the police would tell that to you. If mental health is an issue, of course, we'll bring that up through proper psychiatrists or psychologists who are qualified to form such an opinion."
Stewart would not comment on reports about what led to the Amber Alert, allegations that Fields became enraged after learning her daughter told a school counselor that her father never molested her and her mother coached her about what to say.
Jessica Smith's parents are getting divorced and are involved in a custody fight.
"I don't know anything about that enough to form a valid opinion at this point," Stewart said. "But I would say that any mom who believed or was in fear for their children would be purely justified in trying to remove them as quickly as possible."
If convicted, Kimberly Fields Smith could be sentenced to life in prison.
Jessica Smith's father is still formally accused of sexual assault, but prosecutors say they are reviewing the case.
The father's attorney has said he's hopeful prosecutors will soon drop the charges.
NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.