Update: Charges dismissed against man accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Obama

Posted on: 3:18 pm, April 23, 2013, by , updated on: 06:10pm, April 23, 2013

From Bill Mears

(CNN) –Update: Charges were dismissed Tuesday against a Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and others by the U.S. Attorney, who said “new information” has been uncovered.

Authorities are investigating whether someone may have tried to falsely implicate Curtis, a law enforcement source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN on Tuesday.

[Breaking news update, 2:59 p.m. ET]

The attorney for Paul Kevin Curtis, who is accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and others, told CNN on Tuesday that she believes her client was framed by somebody who is familiar with him. Christi McCoy also said the case has not been dismissed despite Curtis’s release from federal custody.

[Breaking news update, 2:52 p.m. ET]

The attorney for the Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and other officials told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday that her client was “set up.”

[Original story, published 2:10 p.m. ET]

(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. Marshal’s 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.

Jeff Woodfin, the chief deputy marshal in Oxford, where the case was being heard, said Curtis was no longer in federal custody but did not know the circumstances surrounding his release.

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.

Curtis’ attorney, Christi McCoy, told CNN last week that her client “vehemently denies the allegations against him.”

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/+1-404-827-WIRE(9473)
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.