Texas woman Shannon Richardson charged in Obama ricin threat

Last modified: 6/8/2013 12:31:01 AM
A pregnant Texas actress who told FBI agents her husband had sent ricin-tainted letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was charged yesterday with threatening the president.

Shannon Richardson, 35, made an initial appearance in a Texarkana, Texas, courtroom after being charged with mailing a threatening communication to the president. She could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Davilyn Walston said.

Richardson, a mother of five who has played bit roles in television shows, was arrested earlier yesterday 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.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Richardson had an attorney.

FBI agents wearing hazardous material suits were seen going in and out of Richardson’s house Wednesday in nearby New Boston, Texas, about 150 miles northeast of Dallas near the Arkansas and Oklahoma borders. Officials have 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, told the Associated Press Thursday that his client had filed for divorce and he may have been set up by his wife. Yesterday, Delk said his client was pleased with his wife’s arrest and was working with authorities to prove his innocence.

Delk said he wasn’t anticipating that Nathaniel Richardson would be arrested. “But until I’m sure they’re not looking at him being involved, I can’t say much more,” he said.

Bloomberg issued a statement yesterday thanking local and federal law enforcement agencies “for their outstanding work in apprehending a suspect,” saying they worked collaboratively from the outset “and will continue to do so as the investigation continues.”

Shannon Richardson’s resume on the internet movie database IMDb said she has had small television roles in The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead. She had a minor role in the movie The Blind Side and appeared in an Avis commercial, according to the resume.

She was seen leaving a Texarkana hospital yesterday before the court hearing, though it was unclear why she was there. A hospital spokeswoman didn’t return a phone message seeking comment.




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