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Negotiations for a plea resume in Unabom case

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For now, the Unabom trial is on.

But The Associated Press learned Tuesday that plea negotiations between the Justice Department and defense attorneys have resumed, prompted by a psychiatrist's report that says Theodore Kaczynski is competent to stand trial - and that he is mentally ill.That illness, paranoid schizophrenia, could make it harder to execute him if he's convicted.

Under a possible deal, the 55-year-old Kaczynski would avoid the death penalty by pleading guilty to at least some of the Unabomber attacks.

The defense has dropped all conditions but one - that Kaczynski retain the right to appeal the legality of the initial search of his Montana cabin, sources close to the case said. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Kaczynski has abandoned a demand that he never be placed in a federal psychiatric facility.

Kaczynski's previous offers to plead guilty to escape a death sentence were refused by the government. Negotiations resumed following a report filed by Dr. Sally Johnson, a Bureau of Prisons psychiatrist appointed by the court to examine Kaczynski last week.

Sources said Johnson - whose report was filed under seal - found that Kaczynski was competent but suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, a disease characterized by delusions of persecution that can lead to violence.

Kaczynski's defense team has long contended that he is mentally ill, which would be considered a mitigating factor in sentencing. Kaczynski has resisted the label, and the government has opposed the introduction of mental illness issues in the trial.

Anthony Bisceglie, the attorney for Kaczynski's brother, David, said it was time for a plea deal.

"If this conservative, government-employed expert concluded he is a paranoid schizophrenic, that should be enough impetus to take the death penalty off the table," Bisceglie said.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Leesa Brown had no comment.