Trial begins for Joseph Jakubowski

 More than 25 potential jurors were dismissed over pretrial publicity in the first day of a federal trial for the Janesville man accused of stealing a cache of weapons leading to a 10-day, nationwide manhunt.

Joseph Jakubowski, 33, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of the two federal charges – stealing firearms and silencers from a federally licensed firearms dealer, and being a felon in possession of those firearms and silencers, according to Myra Longfield of the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Jakubowski had southern Wisconsin on edge in April, 2017, after police say he broke in to the Armageddon Gun Shop on the outskirts of Janesville and later torched his own car.

Authorities also learned that he wrote a rambling 161 — page anti-government manifesto that he mailed to President Donald Trump.

During jury selection Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 in Madison, Jakubowski refused to stand for the entrance of federal judge William Conley, and also when Conley asked Jakubowski to stand to ensure potential jurors could see him to confirm they were not acquainted with him.  Potential jurors said they could see Jakubowski as he was sitting.   Jakubowski did stand when his jury of three women and ten men (one alternate juror) were selected.

Over twenty five potential jurors were dismissed by Conley, most of them because they had familiarity with Jakubowski's case through media and online accounts.  Conley dismissed a half dozen potential jurors who read a Wisconsin State Journal story on Jakubowski published Sunday on the newspaper's front page.

One potential juror was dismissed, after revealing he worked with law enforcement on Jakubowski's apprehension.  The potential juror is a state department of corrections employee in Janesville.

During trial, federal prosecutors say they will display some of the twenty guns Jakubowski allegedly store from the Janesville gun store in April.  Jurors are also expected to be shown a videotape of what authorities say is Jakubowski confessing to the burglary, and surveillance video of the burglary itself.

Jakubowski appeared in court Monday in a unbuttoned, dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and dress pants and shoes.

During Jakubowski's time as a fugitive, authorities feared Jakubowski would target either schools or government buildings, and many schools in the area canceled classes.

Jakubowski eventually was discovered by a property owner in a makeshift camp in rural Vernon County where he was taken into custody, and where firearms were seized.

A transcript of Jakubowski's interrogation states Jakubowski admitted to breaking the store's glass to get inside; displaying for detectives injuries to his hand as a result of the break-in; telling interrogators he grabbed guns quickly, but looked for firearms with "optics;"  and stating he burned his truck because he did not want the government to benefit from any sale of the vehicle if it was found and seized.During jury selection Monday, Conley expressed surprise Wisconsin State Journal representatives would published a "detailed" story on the Jakubowski case on the eve of his trial.

Jakubowski's attorney has yet to comment on whether Jakubowski will take the witness stand in his trial.  The judge has barred Jakubowski from making political statements from the witness stand, if he does testify. 

Jakubowski also faces charges in connection to the gun store burglary in Rock County Circuit Court, with a trial scheduled for Oct. 23, 2017. 

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