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Published March 26, 2012, 07:42 PM

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Extortion Charges

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Minnesota man accused of trying to extort $50 million from various agencies and threatening to hold tribunals for politicians has pleaded not guilty in federal court.

By: Dave Kolpack, Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Minnesota man accused of trying to extort $50 million from various agencies and threatening to hold tribunals for politicians has pleaded not guilty in federal court.

Brian Jacobson, 43, of Battle Lake, Minn., told a judge Monday that he understands the charges against him but appeared befuddled by the case.

"I am very naïve when it comes to courts," Jacobson said. "And I'm very naïve when it comes to accountability, because I haven't seen accountability in any agency in North Dakota."

Jacobson faces two count of transmitting threatening communications. Investigators said he left three threatening voice mail messages with the U.S. Marshals Service office in Fargo on March 9, between 1:54 and 2:14 p.m.

Jacobson allegedly demanded to be paid $50 million for an alleged contract with the city of Fargo. He said 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, court documents show.

Jacobson said in one message he was "immune from all law" and demanded free lifetime medical services for himself, his mother, his sister and his niece, documents show.

Investigators said Jacobson made similar threats in a conversation with Ottertail County (Minn.) Sheriff Brian Schlueter, also on March 8. Schlueter called back after Jacobson allegedly upset a receptionist in the sheriff's office by threating to fire her because he owned the building.

Asked on Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Klein if he understood the charges, Jacobson said, "I understand ... but that doesn't mean I agree with what's happened."

Klein then asked him if was pleading not guilty.

"That is correct, on all charges," Jacobson said. "For an agency that knows exactly the terms of my contract, I don't know why I'm here."

Jacobson faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison on the two counts. Klein scheduled trial for May 29.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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