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US woman indicted in poison letter-to-Obama case

June 28, 2013

TEXARKANA, Texas (AP) — A U.S. woman was indicted Friday on charges that she sent ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York City’s mayor in an attempt to frame her estranged husband, federal prosecutors said.

Shannon Richardson, 35, is charged with two counts of mailing a threatening communication and one count of making a threat against the president of the United States, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas said in a news release.

“What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got in store for you, Mr. President,” the letter to Obama said.

Richardson, an actress from Texas, was arrested June 7. She is accused of sending the threatening letters in May to Obama, Michael Bloomberg and a third man who heads the billionaire mayor’s gun-control group. Richardson faces up to five years in prison on each of the charges.

Richardson’s court-appointed attorney, Tonda Curry, was not immediately available for comment.

The government 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.

Authorities have said that the ricin letters threatened violence against gun-control advocates.

According to an FBI affidavit, Shannon Richardson first contacted authorities to implicate her husband in the scheme. But she failed a polygraph exam and investigators found inconsistencies in her story, the document alleges.

Richardson later admitted she mailed the letters but maintained that her husband made her do it, according to the affidavit.

A federal judge last week ordered Richardson to undergo a psychological exam. Curry had requested the exam, saying her client had displayed “a pattern of behavior” that calls into question whether she could assist in her defense.

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