Ricin suspect released, as FBI shifts to new 'person of interest' (+video)
Ricin suspect Paul Kevin Curtis said, after his release: 'I thought they said rice.' Curtis's attorney says her client was framed. Federal investigators are looking into potential enemies.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday dropped the charges against a Mississippi man accused of sending poisonous letters to President Obama and two other government officials, as the FBI inspected the home of a second suspect.Skip to next paragraph
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Officials did not cite specific reasons for dropping criminal charges against Paul Kevin Curtis, a part-time Elvis impersonator from Corinth, Miss., but a court document said the “ongoing investigation has revealed new information,” reported The New York Times. A pretrial hearing in the case against him, which was under way, was canceled.
The FBI had testified Monday that no physical evidence of ricin or ricin-making materials had been found in Mr. Curtis’s residence or vehicle. Last week, letters addressed to Mr. Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker (R) of Mississippi, and a county judge in Mississippi, Sadie Holland, tested positive for ricin, a deadly biological toxin made from castor beans.
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“I thought they said rice and I said, 'I don't even eat rice,' “ Curtis said at a press conference after his release, referring to investigators’ questions. He added, “I respect President Obama. I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other US official.”
Since Curtis's arrest on April 17, his attorneys said their client did not send the letters and suggested that he was being framed. Defense attorney Hal Neilson said they gave a list of Curtis’s potential enemies to authorities.
J. Everett Dutschke, whose house and property the FBI searched Tuesday, is on the list.
“Dutschke came up,” Mr. Neilson told the Associated Press. “[The prosecutors] took it and ran with it. I could not tell you if he's the man or he's not the man, but there was something there they wanted to look into.”