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Report: Plea Deal For Texas Woman Accused Of Sending Ricin-Tainted Letters

Letters Were Sent To President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg
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Federal agents raid a home in New Boston, Texas in connection with the investigation into ricin-laced letters sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Obama on May 31, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

Federal agents raid a home in New Boston, Texas in connection with the investigation into ricin-laced letters sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Obama on May 31, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

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TEXARKANA, Texas (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Texas woman reportedly has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors on charges that she sent ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Shannon Guess Richardson, 35, was charged in June with two counts of mailing a threatening communication and one count of making a threat against the president of the United States, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas said in a news release at the time.

On Saturday, the Texarkana Gazette reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Coan added into the case docket for Richardson a one-line entry that states “notice of plea agreement.” The terms of the deal have not yet been made public.

Authorities said the New Boston, Texas, actress mailed ricin-laced letters to Obama, Bloomberg and a leader of the mayor’s gun-control group.

The government accused Richardson of mailing the letters and trying to pin the crime on Nathan Richardson, the man she married in 2011. He filed for divorce earlier this month. He’s told the Texarkana Gazette that he contemplated divorce last year but reconsidered when the relationship seemed to improve.

Authorities determined that the ricin letters, which threatened violence against gun-control advocates, were mailed from New Boston, about 150 miles northeast of Dallas, or nearby Texarkana and postmarked in Shreveport, La.

According to multiple sources, the letter sent to Bloomberg carried the following threat:

“You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional, God-given right and I will exercise that right till the day I die. What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you.”

According to a FBI affidavit, Richardson first contacted authorities to implicate her husband in the scheme. But she failed a polygraph exam and investigators found inconsistencies in her story, the document alleges.

Richardson later admitted she mailed the letters but maintained that her husband made her do it, according to the affidavit.

Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Symptoms include difficulty breathing, vomiting and redness on the skin depending on how the affected person comes into contact with the poison.

Shannon Richardson was arrested on June 7, and remains jailed after giving birth in July.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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