TUPELO, Miss. — Charges were dropped Tuesday against the Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and others, while authorities searched at another man’s home in connection with the case.
The surprising move was announced in a brief document filed in federal court in Oxford hours after Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody. The charges were dismissed without prejudice, which means they could be re-instated if prosecutors so choose.
Attorneys for Curtis have suggested he was framed, and an FBI agent testified in court this week that no evidence of ricin was found in searches of his home. At a news conference Tuesday, they declined to discuss whether they were told what new information the government had uncovered.
Prosecutors couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
In Tupelo, numerous law enforcement officers converged on the home of another man, including some investigators in hazmat suits.
Everett Dutschke said in a phone interview with The Associated Press that the FBI was at his Tupelo home Tuesday for the search connected to the mailing of poisoned letters to Obama, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and a state judge. Dutschke said his house was also searched last week.
Dutschke has maintained his innocence and says he doesn’t know anything about the ingredients for ricin. He said agents asked him about Curtis, whether Dutschke would take a lie detector test and if he had ever bought castor beans, which can be used to make the potent poison.
Read more in Wednesday’s Arizona Daily Star and at azstarne.com