FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A man accused of trying to extort $50 million from various government agencies in Fargo and threatening to hold tribunals for politicians told U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson on Thursday that Erickson should be arrested for ruining his life.
Brian Jacobson, of Battle Lake, Minn., unleashed a tirade on Erickson during a brief hearing to update the status of a psychiatric report. Jacobson’s attorney said earlier he planned to use the insanity defense in trial.
Jacobson, 43, is charged with two counts of transmitting threatening communications. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in March, but told a U.S. magistrate judge that he didn’t agree with the charges.
Jacobson first complained Thursday that he wasn’t receiving proper liquids in jail because he’s allergic to the tap water, and then blamed Erickson for his plight.
“I want to see you in cuffs today,” Jacobson said.
Erickson told Jacobson he probably isn’t the only person who feels that way, but said it wasn’t likely to happen.
Thursday’s hearing lasted only a few minutes. Lawyers from both sides said they would arrange a video hearing with a Chicago expert to discuss the psychiatric report. When Erickson asked if there was anything more to discuss, Jacobson said, “I have a question or two.”
Five court security personnel stood by as Jacobson told the judge he ruined “two careers” and said Erickson was responsible for his health problems. The charges are “as bogus as can be,” the defendant said.
“I’ve had 19 years of torture on this,” Jacobson said.
Court documents show that Jacobson made the threats primarily in three voicemail messages in March to the U.S. Marshals Service office in Fargo. He allegedly demanded to be paid $50 million for an alleged contract with the city.
Authorities said Jacobson claimed he could legally take U.S. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota, former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer and current U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota into custody and put them on trial.
Investigators said Jacobson made similar threats in a conversation with Ottertail County (Minn.) Sheriff Brian Schlueter, also in March. Schlueter called back after Jacobson allegedly upset a receptionist in the sheriff’s office by threating to fire her because he owned the building.
Neil Fulton, head of the public defender’s officer for the Dakotas, and U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Jacobson continued to bark at Erickson as he was being led out of the courtroom.
“I can’t get a fair trial anywhere in the United States of America,” he said.
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