Kaczynski's Reported Deal Bid Fails

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Was the government wrong to reject a reported offer by Unabomber accused Theodore Kaczynski to plead guilty in exchange for life imprisonment? The New York times said Monday that the Justice Department recently turned down Kaczynski's offer a deal supposedly motivated by the mathematician-turned-hermit's desperation to avoid being presented as a delusional paranoid-schizophrenic.

TIME correspondent David Jackson believes the episode may point toward a potential unraveling of the case: "If it gets to the point that his actions don't seem to be in his own interests, we may end up with a worst-case scenario in which the judge decides that he's not fit to stand trial and hospitalizes him."

Adds Jackson: "Mental illness is a theme that's going to run throughout this trial, and if Kaczynski is not comfortable with that, this problem could erupt at any point." Indeed, the last time Kaczynski's lawyers discussed his psychological condition in court, he became agitated and threw a pencil. When opening arguments begin on January 5, they may want to keep movable objects beyond their client's reach.