TUPELO, Miss. – Charges were dropped Tuesday against the Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and others, while authorities searched 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, meaning they could be reinstated 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, the attorneys declined to discuss whether they were told what new information the government had uncovered.
“I respect President Obama,” Curtis said to reporters. “I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official.”
Prosecutors couldn’t immediately be reached to comment.
In Tupelo, numerous law enforcement officers, including some in hazmat suits, converged on the home of another Mississippi man.
Everett Dutschke said in a phone interview with the Associated Press that the FBI was at his home Tuesday for the search connected to the mailing of poisoned letters to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and a state judge. Dutschke said his house was also searched last week.