Texas woman charged with sending letters laced with ricin to Obama, Bloomberg

June 28, 2013

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 said.

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 mailing the letters, Curry noted that the government must prove Richardson had “the requisite mental state” to make her actions a crime.

Davilyn Walston, the spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the eastern district of Texas, said she couldn’t comment on the specifics of the Richardson investigation, but she said there’s always a possibility of a superseding indictment in every case.

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.

Richardson, who is six months pregnant, has been in the Titus County jail since her arrest but is due to be transferred to a federal prison for a psychological exam.

— Associated Press

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