Actress indicted over ricin-laced letters
DALLAS -- A Texas woman was indicted Friday on charges that she sent threatening, ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an attempt to frame her estranged husband.
The federal indictment charges Shannon Richardson, 35, with two counts of mailing a threatening communication and one count of making a threat against the president of the United States.
Richardson, an actress from New Boston, Texas, was arrested June 7. She is accused of sending the threatening letters in May to Obama, Bloomberg and a third man who heads the mayor's gun-control group.
"What's in this letter is nothing compared to what I've got in store for you, Mr. President," the letter to Obama read.
If convicted, Richardson faces up to five years in prison on each charge.
Richardson's attorney, Tonda Curry, said her client will plead not guilty. Although federal investigators say Richardson has admitted to mailing the letters, Curry noted that the government must prove Richardson had "the requisite mental state" to make her actions a crime.
Authorities have determined that the letters were mailed from New Boston, about 150 miles northeast of Dallas, or nearby Texarkana and postmarked in Shreveport, La.
The government has accused Richardson of mailing the letters and trying to pin the crime on Nathan Richardson, whom she married in 2011. He filed for divorce earlier this month and told the Texarkana Gazette he contemplated divorce last year but reconsidered when the relationship seemed to improve.
The marriage was at least the third for Shannon Richardson, and she has five children ranging in age from 4 to 19 from other relationships, according to Nathan Richardson's attorney, John Delk.
Delk said Friday that his client has been allowed to return to the couple's home in New Boston, which was quarantined after it was searched by FBI agents wearing hazardous material suits.
"He's starting to get his life back in order, and he's still cooperating fully with the investigators, answering any questions they may have and providing any evidence they may need," Delk said.