Barack Obama

Actress charged with sending Obama poison letter

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 9:19am


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A pregnant actress who told FBI agents her husband had sent ricin-tainted letters to US President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been charged with threatening the president.

Shannon Guess Richardson, 35, appeared in court after being charged with mailing a threatening communication to the president. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Richardson, a mother of five who has played bit roles in television shows, was arrested on Friday for allegedly mailing the ricin-laced letters last month to the White House, Bloomberg and the mayor's Washington gun-control group. The letters threatened violence against gun-control advocates.

FBI agents wearing hazardous material suits were seen going in and out of Richardson's house on Wednesday in nearby New Boston, northeast of Dallas, in the state of Texas.

Officials said the search was initiated after Richardson contacted the FBI and implicated her husband, Nathaniel Richardson, a 33-year-old army veteran.

John Delk, who represents Nathaniel Richardson, said his client had filed for divorce and may have been set up by his wife.

On Friday, Delk said his client was pleased about his wife's arrest and was working with authorities to prove his innocence.

Shannon Richardson's résumé on the internet movie database IMDb said she had small television roles in The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead. She had a minor role in the movie The Blind Side.

Delk said the Richardsons were expecting their first child in October. Shannon Richardson also has five children ranging in age from four to 19 from other relationships, four of whom had been living with the couple.

The FBI is investigating at least three cases over the past two months in which ricin was mailed to Obama and other public figures. Ricin has been sent to officials sporadically over the years, but experts say there seems to be a recent uptick and that copycat attacks - made possible by the relative ease of extracting the poison - may be the reason.