Woman Who Mailed Ricin to Trump Is Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison
Category: News & PoliticsVia: hallux • one month ago • 10 comments
By: Jesus Jiménez - NYT
A woman was sentenced on Thursday to more than 21 years in prison for mailing letters containing the lethal substance ricin to President Donald J. Trump and eight Texas law enforcement officials in 2020, the Justice Department said.
The woman, Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 55, of Quebec was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. After she completes her prison term, she will be on supervised release for the rest of her life, the Justice Department said in a statement .
Ms. Ferrier, a dual citizen of Canada and France, had faced charges in two separate criminal cases — one in Washington for mailing ricin to Mr. Trump, and one in the Southern District of Texas for mailing letters to law enforcement officials in that state. The Texas case was transferred to federal court in Washington.
Ms. Ferrier pleaded guilty in January to nine counts of prohibitions with respect to biological weapons, the Justice Department said.
In a statement that she read in court on Thursday, Ms. Ferrier said that she had “remorse for the psychological harm I did to my children, but not for my activist actions.”
“The only regret I have,” she added, “is that it didn’t work, and I couldn’t stop Trump before he put in action his plans to try to stay in power.”
In her statement, a copy of which was provided by her lawyer, Ms. Ferrier shared details about her life, including that she was born and raised in France before moving to Canada in her 40s. When she was a teenager, Ms. Ferrier said, she aspired to become a police commissioner, but after meeting detectives and commissioners she realized that she “couldn’t work for an unjust system in a corrupt society.”
Ms. Ferrier said in her statement that she viewed her actions “as a work of activism.”
“I believed that the legal system of justice was not working,” she said. “I felt that a strong message had to be sent in order to stop what I saw as tyrannical behaviors. This to me is what makes me an activist.”
Ms. Ferrier’s adult children could not be reached on Thursday. Prosecutors declined to comment beyond the statement released by the Justice Department.
A sentencing memo said that Ms. Ferrier “appears to suffer from mental health issues,” and that she should be further evaluated for mental health treatment.
Ms. Ferrier is not the first to try to kill a United States president with ricin. In 2014, a man admitted to having sent a letter with ricin to President Barack Obama . The poison has been used in recent years in attempts to kill a number of prominent American officials, including a U.S. senator , a defense secretary and a chief of naval operations.
Ricin, a poison discovered in 1888 that is found naturally in castor beans, can kill someone within 36 to 72 hours of exposure, depending on the quantity and whether it was inhaled, ingested or injected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In each of the nine letters that she sent, Ms. Ferrier said that if the “special gift,” referring to the ricin, did not work, she would “find a better recipe for another poison,” according to court documents.
In the letter addressed to Mr. Trump, Ms. Ferrier wrote, “You ruin USA and lead them to disaster.”
“I have US cousins, then I don’t want the next 4 years with you as President,” she wrote. “Give up and remove your application for this election!”
After the letters were detected, “mass destruction coordinators” and hazardous materials experts were deployed to several locations in the United States to intercept them, and they were later sent for additional testing, according to court documents.
In March 2019, while Ms. Ferrier was living in the United States, she was arrested by the police in Mission, Texas, and charged with possession of an unlicensed weapon, resisting arrest and carrying a fake driver’s license. While she was in custody in Texas, the authorities discovered that Ms. Ferrier had overstayed a six-month visa, and she was deported to Canada.
The sentencing memo said that a sentence of 262 months, or nearly 22 years, for Ms. Ferrier was “an appropriately harsh punishment” compared with sentences issued in similar cases, including that of a man who was sentenced to 18 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sending letters with ricin to Mr. Obama, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York and Mark Glaze , a prominent gun control supporter.
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