Woman charged in ricin plot is denied bail

A woman charged with making threats against President Trump by mailing a package containing ricin to the White House was ordered held without bail Monday by a judge in Buffalo who cited “a very strong case” against her based on an indictment in D.C.

Pascale Ferrier, 53, of a Montreal suburb was arrested a week ago as she tried to enter the United States through a border crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo. Her lawyer entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. found Ferrier was an ongoing threat to the president and others. He also read from a letter that prosecutors allege Ferrier wrote to Trump and included in the ricin-laden container, in which she allegedly threatened to find a more dangerous poison or to use her gun to stop him from his presidential campaign.

Schroeder ordered the woman, who has French and Canadian citizenship, be transferred to D.C. to face the one-count indictment.

The envelope containing the toxic substance and the threatening letter was addressed to the White House but was intercepted at a mail-sorting facility Sept. 18. No one was hurt.

The FBI discovered that several similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas a few days earlier, according to a criminal complaint.

Ferrier’s lawyer, Fonda Dawn Kubiak, called her client “highly educated,” with the equivalent of a master’s degree in engineering in France and a job with an aircraft engineering company.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Lynch said authorities found a semiautomatic handgun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, nearly 300 rounds of other ammunition, pepper spray, a knife and a stun gun in Ferrier’s car when she was arrested.

— Associated Press


Man gets 30 years in plan to behead blogger

A man convicted of leading a plot to behead blogger Pamela Geller on behalf of the Islamic State group will serve even longer behind bars after he was sentenced for a second time Monday and ordered to serve 30 years in prison.

David Daoud Wright was originally sentenced to 28 years in prison in 2017 but was ordered to be sentenced again by a different federal court judge in Boston after an appeals court last year overturned one of his convictions. Wright remains convicted of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries and other crimes.

Wright, who is from Everett, just north of Boston, has already served about five years for conspiring to kill Geller, who organized a 2015 prophet Muhammad cartoon contest that year in Garland, Tex., that ended in gunfire, with two Muslim gunmen shot dead by police. The beheading plot against Geller was never carried out.

Days later, Wright’s uncle, Usaamah Rahim, told Wright in a phone call that he couldn’t wait to attack Geller and decided instead to go after “those boys in blue.” Hours later, Rahim was approached by officers in a Boston parking lot and was fatally shot after he pulled out a knife and moved toward them, officials said.

— Associated Press

Fire at collapsed hotel site in New Orleans: A fire broke out Monday amid the wreckage of the Hard Rock Hotel construction project that partially collapsed last year in New Orleans, and it was put out by midafternoon. No injuries were reported. The fire began when a pile of roofing material ignited during demolition work at the site, city officials said. The hotel was under construction in October when it collapsed, killing three workers.

— Associated Press