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Jury selection opens for accused Texas bomber who wrote to Unabomber

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)

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