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Steve Hirsch Comments on Government Plan to Auction Unabomber Items


Following a lengthy court battle, the U.S. Marshals will auction off "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski's personal effects online beginning later this month, with proceeds to compensate some of his victims.

The online auction will begin May 18 and run through June 2, the Marshals said in a statement Thursday. Among about 60 items up for sale are personal documents such as driver's licenses, birth certificates and checks; academic transcripts; typewriters, and "more than 20,000 pages of written documents, including the original handwritten and typewritten versions" of Kaczynski's manifesto, authorities said.

The auction will be conducted by the General Services Administration, the Marshals said. A catalog of the items will be available on the GSA's auction website when the sale begins.

Kaczynski, now 68, killed three people and wounded 23 others in a string of bombings from 1978 to 1995. He was arrested in 1996, pleaded guilty in 1998 and is now serving a life term in the federal "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado.

The FBI dubbed him the "Unabomber" as shorthand for his early targets -- universities and airlines.

Four of his victims are owed $15 million in court-ordered restitution; the others opted not to seek restitution from him.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals approved the auction plan in 2009, said Steve Hirsch, a San Francisco attorney who represented the four victims in the court proceedings regarding the auctions.

The nearly two-year delay is due to two factors, Hirsch said. First, "the auction plan tries to protect the privacy of not only the named victims, but the other victims," and Kaczynski's writings had to be redacted to delete the victims' names and the details of their injuries, he said. 

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Steve Hirsch helps clients reframe and develop their cases for success in the federal and state appellate courts. That process can begin long before any appeal is filed, with dispositive trial-court motions and significant motions in limine, or during the post-trial motion phase, when issues are being teed up for appeal.