POLITICS

Senator once hired man accused of mailing him ricin-laced letter

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Susan Ferrechio

Sen. Roger Wicker once hired the man accused of trying to send a ricin-tainted letter to both President Obama and Wicker’s D.C. Senate office. The man, Paul Kevin Curtis, could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

“I have indeed met the gentleman,” Wicker, R-Miss., said as he emerged from the Senate chamber Thursday.

Federal officials on Thursday charged Curtis, 45, of Corinth, Miss., with threatening the president, according to the Justice Department. In addition to Wicker, Curtis is accused of sending a ricin-filled letter to a judge.

Ricin is a toxic substance derived from castor beans that can kill if ingested.

Wicker said Curtis is an Elvis impersonator he hired a decade ago to perform at a party given for an engaged couple in Wicker’s hometown of Tupelo.

“Quite entertaining,” Wicker said, when asked about his encounter with Curtis.

“My impression is that since that time, he’s had mental issue and perhaps is not as stable as he was back then,” Wicker said.

Wicker said a group of couples decided to hire Curtis to perform at the party. Wicker and his wife, Gayle, “kicked in our share of the cost,” he said.

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