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Kaczynski Begins Psychiatric Exam

Tue., Jan. 13, 1998, midnight

After months of steadfastly refusing to cooperate with government mental experts, alleged Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski on Monday submitted to an exam by a court-appointed psychiatrist.

Legal experts, including a former federal prosecutor, said Kaczynski’s cooperation could be a turning point in the trial - even if the former University of California, Berkeley, mathematics professor is found mentally competent to stand trial.

They say an examination is likely to spotlight Kaczynski’s suspected mental illness, possibly providing federal prosecutors a graceful way to accept a plea bargain under which Kaczynski would plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison. The government is now seeking the death penalty.

The trial has been delayed at least until Jan. 22 while Kaczynski undergoes a competency evaluation by Dr. Sally Johnson, a North Carolina-based U.S. Bureau of Prisons psychiatrist, at the Sacramento County Jail.

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