By Jana J. Pruet
DALLAS (Reuters) – Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of a Texas man accused of trying to blow up a natural gas pipeline and suspected of seeking guidance from jailed Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
Anson Chi, 35, is facing four counts of firearms and weapons violations that could bring him as much as 30 years in jail if convicted. Prosecutors said in their indictment that he tried to destroy a suburban Dallas section of a natural gas pipeline with a bomb in June 2012.
Court documents said Chi, 35, began writing letters in July 2011 to serial bomber Kaczynski, who is serving a life sentence for deadly bomb blasts, The documents said Chi told Kaczynski he shared the same anti-technology beliefs and was seeking help developing a website.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Richard Schell granted Chi’s motion to exclude the correspondence between him and Kaczynski in the trial.
The Dallas Morning News, which published excerpts from the letters, reported that Kaczynski shared some of his beliefs with Chi, but later grow disenchanted and said Chi was headed for “big, big trouble.”
Chi, who is representing himself in the trial, has complained that federal authorities have seized essential material for his defense.
“All my legal papers were stripped from me. My legal books were taken away,” he said in papers filed with the court.
Chi was arrested after a blood trail from the attempted pipeline explosion led to the house he shared with his parents.
Federal authorities then found chemicals and other material that could be used for bombs at the residence along with letters between Chi and Kaczynski, according to court documents.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by David Gregorio)
[Image via Wikipedia Commons]
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Iran probes seized UK-flagged tanker — Britain to hold emergency meeting
ran warned Sunday that the fate of a UK-flagged tanker it seized in the Gulf depends on an investigation, as Britain prepared for an emergency security meeting on Tehran's action.
Iranian authorities impounded the Stena Impero with 23 crew members aboard off the port of Bandar Abbas after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized it Friday in the highly sensitive Strait of Hormuz.
Video footage released by Iran showed the Stena Impero tanker being surrounded by speedboats before troops in balaclavas descend a rope from a helicopter onto the vessel.
In an audio recording of a radio exchange, an Iranian officer can be heard ordering the tanker to change course "immediately".
For Cubans — a day at the beach is no easy task
Cuba's constitution guarantees its people access to its beaches, but many locals are unable to enjoy the island's pristine white sands and crystal clear blue waters.
While foreign tourists flock to such paradisiacal Havana sites as Varadero, which was this year named the second most-beautiful beach in the world by American travel website TripAdvisor, Cubans are typically found elsewhere.
"Not many tourists come here," said 43-year-old Rey Gonzalez, who was enjoying a day at Guanabo, a beach east of the capital.
Guanabo's sand isn't as white and the water not quite as clear as Varadero's, but that mattered little to Gonzalez, who was there with his family.