By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – A national security attorney will join government prosecutors against a former Tupelo martial arts instructor accused of making ricin to mail as a weapon to President Obama and other elected officials.
David Andrew Sigler, a former Alabama assistant U.S. attorney, was authorized Tuesday to come to North Mississippi in the case against J. Everett Dutschke.
Dutschke, 41, remains in the Lafayette County Detention Center accused in the ricin-letter scheme, which drew national attention beginning April 17 when another man was accused initially.
Later, prosecutors dismissed charges against Paul Kevin Curtis of Corinth when they realized they had no evidence against him, although early indications pointed to him as the letter mailer.
Dutschke, who reportedly feuded with Curtis, was arrested April 27 after federal agents claim they found traces of ricin at his former studio and on items they recovered after he dumped them.
Dutschke says he’s innocent.
Sigler is assigned to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division in Washington, D.C.
In an official letter to Sigler, Deputy Assistant Attorney General George Z. Toscas informed him that he was authorized to file charges and conduct in the Northern District of Mississippi or any other judicial district a range of proceedings as “U.S. Attorneys are authorized to conduct.”
While Toscas’ letter does not specifically state Sigler’s involvement with the Dutschke case, the document is filed with other documents associated with Dutschke.
Dutschke has not been indicted in the ricin-letter scheme, but Toscas authorizes Sigler to conduct grand jury and other proceedings.
In addition to President Obama, the letters were received by U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
Only Holland actually handled the mail and she did not report any ill effects.