Texas woman charged in ricin-letter threats
A pregnant Texas actress who first told the FBI that her husband sent ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then reportedly said she sent them because her husband “made her” do it, was charged Friday with threatening the president.
Shannon Guess Richardson, 35, appeared in a Texarkana courtroom after being charged with mailing a threatening communication to the president. The federal charge carries up to 10 years in prison, U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Davilyn Walston said.
Richardson, a mother of five who has played bit roles on television and in movies, was arrested earlier Friday for purportedly mailing the ricin-laced letters last month to the White House, Bloomberg and the mayor’s Washington gun-control group. The letters — which authorities determined were mailed from Richardson’s hometown of New Boston and postmarked in Shreveport, La. — threatened violence against gun-control advocates, authorities said.
Her court-appointed attorney didn’t immediately return a message seeking a comment.
According to an FBI affidavit, Richardson contacted authorities May 30 to implicate her estranged husband, Nathaniel Richardson. She later failed a polygraph test, and investigators looking into her story found numerous inconsistencies, the document said.
Among the inconsistencies: Nathaniel Richardson would have been at work at a time when Internet searches tied to the letters were made on the couple’s laptop and at the time they were postmarked.
During an interview with authorities Thursday, Shannon Richardson admitted mailing the letters knowing they contained ricin, but she said her husband had typed them and made her print and send them, the affidavit said.
No charges have been filed against Nathaniel Richardson. His attorney, John Delk, told The Associated Press on Friday that his client was pleased with his wife’s arrest and was working with authorities to prove his innocence.
Delk said he wasn’t anticipating that Nathanial Richardson would be arrested. “But until I’m sure they’re not looking at him being involved, I can’t say much more,” he said.