By Patsy R. Brumfield
OXFORD – Elvis tribute artist Kevin Curtis has sued the ex-Tupelo martial arts instructor accused of framing him in a poison-letter plot.
Curtis of Corinth filed the lawsuit in Alcorn County against J. Everett Dutschke, who’s in federal custody also charged with sending the letters to President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
In the six-page complaint, Curtis says he is due monetary damages for character defamation, emotional distress and loss of income after his April 17 arrest as the government’s initial suspect in the letter scheme.
Curtis “was portrayed as a traitor and a terrorist in the national and even international media,” the lawsuit claims, making him “no longer marketable in his chosen field.”
Oxford attorneys Christi R. McCoy and Hal Neilson represent Curtis in the lawsuit, as well as actions against the U.S. government after Curtis’ home was damaged by investigators and his reputation “permanently damaged” by his wrongful arrest.
They are not asking a specific amount in the Dutschke lawsuit.
Dutschke maintains that he isinnocent of the federal charges.
The Curtis complaint reveals additional information about his view of why Dutschke allegedly tried to blame him in the plot to send ricin-laden letters to the elected officials.
It claims that Curtis posted Internet comments about Dutschke’s 2012 arrest and subsequent indictments in Lee County on charges he fondled students at his martial arts studio.
“The two men developed a distrust and dislike for one another and both made their feelings known in a variety of ways, including the social media website Facebook.com,” the lawsuit states.
Curtis also posted photographs of Dutschke in jail garb during what’s called a “perp walk” after his Lee County arrest.
The government first focused attention on Curtis because phrases he often used were contained in letters mailed to the officials.
The lawsuit claims Dutschke used those phrases to “set up the machine” ultimately culminating in Curtis’ arrest.
He was held for six days in the Lafayette County Detention Center before the government unofficially dismissed the charges and arrested Dutschke.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not respond to why charges against Curtis have yet to be finally dropped.