Related topics

Unabomber Prosecutors Release List of Potential Chinks in Their Case

August 3, 1996

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Federal prosecutors have released a short list of potential flaws in their case against Theodore Kaczynski, the math-professor-turned-hermit charged in the Unabomber case.

Kaczynski, 54, is charged in seven of the 16 bombings linked to the Unabomber, and could face the death penalty if convicted. He has pleaded innocent and is awaiting trial in a Sacramento jail.

Following Kaczynski’s arrest at his Montana cabin on April 3, agents found a bomb _ which they exploded safely _ the original of the Unabomber’s anti-technology manifesto, his secret identification number and other evidence.

But under the law, the U.S. attorney’s office must provide the defense with any evidence it has that might show the accused is innocent, and prosecutors Robert Cleary and Stephen Freccero have done that in court filings made in Sacramento.

The pickings are slim, however.

_ Investigators found a deposit credited to Kaczynski’s account at Western Federal Savings in Helena, Mont., on Dec. 11, 1985 _ the same day he allegedly planted his first fatal bomb 900 miles away in Sacramento. But the deposit slip itself was actually dated Dec. 9 _ more than enough time before the blast for Kaczynski to take the 25-hour bus trip between the cities.

_ The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms determined that a bomb planted at the University of Utah in October 1981 was a ``hoax,″ prosecutors said. What they didn’t say was that the FBI and Postal Service inspectors disagree. And in a letter to The New York Times, the Unabomber described that bomb as a ``botched operation,″ refusing to explain further.

_ Crime scene investigators found ``in excess of 20 latent fingerprints ... some of which were identified and some were not, and none of which are the fingerprints of your client,″ the government told Kaczynski’s public defender Quin Denvir. But the Unabomber’s letters bragged about using gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints.

_ In earlier affidavits, FBI analysts had pointed to scores of similarities between Kaczynski’s writings and the Unabomber’s manifesto and letters, including similarly misspelled words. But in their latest filing, prosecutors suggested the defense talk to Noel Reynolds, a political science professor at Brigham Young University, concerning his work on the Unabomber texts.

The defense will find little help from his work, said Reynolds, who developed word analysis techniques to look at the writings of philosopher John Locke, author Francis Bacon, and other historical figures.

The FBI had asked Reynolds to compare Unabomber texts with material written by earlier suspects, the professor said. But the agents couldn’t provide enough writings.

``One or two we looked at were possible, but the text was too short,″ he said. ``They never gave us any samples that met our standards.″

Reynolds didn’t look at Kaczynski’s work, but even if he had found a match, ``it could be four or five people out of a hundred,″ he said. ``Anybody who would get up and say they were sure about this stuff isn’t thinking straight.″

Denvir has refused to comment on the evidence in the case, and says he doesn’t expect it to go to trial until next year.

Update hourly