Dutschke Says He’s Innocent in Ricin Case, Withdraws Guilty PleaBy Sandra Knispel | Published 14 May 2014 08:45am |
Aberdeen, May 13, 2014 -- The Mississippi man who had pleaded guilty to sending ricin-laced letters to the President, Mississippi U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and County Judge Sadie Holland in a surprise move withdrew his guilty plea in federal court in Aberdeen.
After more than an hour of working through dozens of objections in his pre-sentencing report, the judge, Sharion Aycock, gave the defendant, James Everett Dutschke, the chance to address her directly, just prior to what was supposed to be his sentencing. That’s when things turned bizarre. In prepared remarks that lasted for 30 minutes and would have gone longer had the judge not told him to wrap it up, he lambasted the investigating agents and the prosecution for lying and committing perjury in court, then he turned on the “sycophantic media who had accepted the lies fed to them" and told an astonished court: “It’s just a total and absolute fabrication. It’s not true.”
The judge halted the proceedings for 30 minutes and told Dutschke that she was very disturbed by what had transpired. After having consulted with his lawyer twice, Dutschke ultimately decided to withdraw his guilty plea. Chad Lamar is the head federal prosecutor, whom Dutschke accused in court of perjury:
“The judge instructed the defendant to if he wants to withdraw his plea to file a motion. We will file a response. It’s discretionary. The court will consider the factors set forward by the 5th Circuit and the Supreme Court and decide whether or not he should be allowed or permitted to withdraw his guilty plea," Lamar said. "That’s where we are.”
Also in court was Christi McCoy, attorney for the first suspect in this case, celebrity impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis, who will now sue both Dutschke and the federal government in civil litigation for conspiracy to frame Curtis and his wrongful incarceration.
Reporter “Was there a part of you in the court room that thought what if – what if they got it wrong a second time”? McCoy replied: "No, I didn’t think what if with Dutschke, I really didn’t. I feel 100 percent confident that he did this.”
Meanwhile, Dutschke in another weird turn of events offered the court what he called “the ultimate free shot” when he suggested he eat the contents of the ricin letters on a peanut butter jelly sandwich right there and then, and wash them down with chocolate milk, to prove they were not toxic. The judge declined. Now it’s up to Judge Aycock to decide whether to accept his plea withdrawal and let the case go to trial -- or to force Dutschke to stick with his original plea, which she has the authority to do.
Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Aberdeen.
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