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Trial begins for man accused of making Altru bomb threat

A jury trial is underway in Grand Forks for the man who is representing himself on charges he called in a bomb threat to Altru Hospital last summer.

Bejan David Etemad, 47, is charged with terrorizing, a Class C felony, for allegedly calling in a bomb threat at Altru on Aug. 3, 2016.

An affidavit of probable cause said Etemad told Altru there were seven bombs inside the hospital that would explode in two hours if not found. Police say Etemad identified himself to Altru employees, who were familiar with him from time he spent as an Altru patient.

Officers traced the phone call to the America's Best Value Inn on North 42nd Street and located Etemad in room 165, according to an affidavit.

There was no bomb at Altru.

Etemad has opted to represent himself throughout the process and dismissed multiple public defenders assigned to him, according to court records.

Last week, he also demanded Judge Lolita G. Hartl-Romanick be removed from his case due to her quashing certain subpoenas he'd requested and insisting he have an attorney, court filings show. Northeast Central District presiding Judge Donald Hager rejected the motion Tuesday.

The Grand Forks County Clerk's Office said jury selection wrapped up Tuesday afternoon and one witness has completed testimony so far.

The trial resumes Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

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