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September 26, 2013

Man cleared in ricin letters case sues 2nd suspect

JACKSON — JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — An Elvis impersonator who was ultimately cleared of charges that he sent poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others has filed a defamation lawsuit against the current suspect in the case.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Alcorn County Circuit Court in Mississippi says James Everett Dutschke framed Paul Kevin Curtis when he sent ricin-tainted letters on April 8 to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Sadie Holland, a Mississippi judge.

Curtis says he was subjected to a terrifying ordeal that began April 17 when he was arrested outside his home in Corinth, Miss., when he and his dog "Moo Cow" were heading to Curtis' ex-wife's house.

The charges were dropped six days later when the investigation shifted to Dutschke.

Curtis is an entertainer and Elvis impersonator who describes himself as a singer and songwriter.

"Dutschke's actions caused Curtis to lose income in that once he was arrested and portrayed as a terrorist and a criminal he was no longer marketable in his chosen field," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit seeks damages in an amount to be determined by a jury.

Christi McCoy, Curtis' lawyer, said Thursday that the government is responsible for Curtis' arrest, but Dutschke was the one who "put the wheels in motion."

"This does not in any way negate the responsibility of the government," she said.

The letters contained language that Curtis had often used on his Facebook page, including the line, "I am KC and I approve this message." The letters also contained the phrase "Missing Pieces," the same title as an unpublished book Curtis wrote about his belief that there's a black market for body parts in the United States.

Holland, a Lee County Justice Court judge, was the only intended recipient to receive a letter. The others were intercepted before reaching Obama or Wicker.

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