Ricin suspect freed, marshals say; attorney says he was set up
From Bill Mears and Chris Cuomo
(CNN) — The Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and other officials has been released from federal custody, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service said Tuesday.
Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator from Corinth, Mississippi, was charged with sending a threat to the president last week after letters containing the poison triggered security scares around Washington. But a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled to continue on Tuesday was canceled and Curtis was released.
There is a bond attached to his release, but the conditions of the bond are under seal at this point, said Curtis’ attorney, Christi McCoy. She said her client has been framed by someone who used several phrases Curtis likes to use on social media.
“I do believe that someone who was familiar and is familiar with Kevin just simply took his personal information and did this to him,” McCoy told CNN. “It is absolutely horrific that someone would do this.”
Curtis was accused of sending letters containing “a suspicious granular substance” to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi; and Sadie Holland, a Justice Court judge in Lee County, Mississippi. The FBI said the substance tested positive for ricin, a toxin derived from castor beans that has no known antidote.
The FBI said no illnesses had been found as a result of exposure to the toxin.
McCoy called Curtis an activist who is passionate about organ and tissue donation. Her client wants to right some wrongs in that industry, she said.
“I have a client who is not only not guilty, he is truly 100% innocent,” she added. She did acknowledge that he has “a history of some mental issues,” but said they are not severe.
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