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Kyle Potter, Published December 17 2013

Charges dropped against man accused of threatening ND officials; prosecutors say he was unfit for trial

FARGO – A federal district court judge has dismissed a case against a Battle Lake, Minn., man who tried to extort $50 million from the government and threatened several North Dakota elected officials, saying the man was clearly mentally ill and unfit for trial.

Brian Jacobson was arrested in March 2012 after he left several voicemails for the U.S. Marshals Service office in Fargo in which he said he owned the marshals’ building and demanded $50 million be put in his bank account.

Jacobson also said he could take former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer and Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven into custody to put them on trial; he demanded a “God card” from insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield to cover lifetime services for free; and he warned he could “totally destroy the whole State of North Dakota at this time,” according to his criminal complaint.

In one voicemail, Jacobson claimed to be “immune from all law.”

When Otter Tail County Sheriff Brian Schlueter called him back, Jacobson said he “intended to shut down buildings, arrest people, and after the trials, hang them,” according to the complaint.

Jacobson was indicted on federal charges of threatening communications and attempted extortion, which could have carried a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

But federal prosecutors agreed Jacobson was unstable and asked the court to dismiss its case against him. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed the indictments Friday and ordered that Jacobson be released from jail.

As his case wound through the court, Jacobson was given several psychiatric evaluations, according to court filings.

Those evaluations are sealed, but Hovland noted in his dismissal that the court had found Jacobson is “presently suffering from a mental disease or defect.”

Jacobson’s federal public defender could not be reached for comment. It’s unclear from court documents whether he will be kept for psychiatric care.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Kyle Potter at (701) 241-5502