March 2 (UPI) — A Massachusetts man accused of mailing white powder to Donald Trump Jr. and four other public figures was arrested Thursday, the Justice Department said.
Daniel Frisiello, 24, of Beverly, Mass., was charged with five counts of mailing a threat to injure the person of another and five counts of false information and hoaxes, according to a department release.
Trump Jr.’s wife and President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Vanessa, opened the letter last month and was briefly hospitalized after she started coughing and felt nauseous.
The white powder was found to be cornstarch. The other four letters also contained powders that were later determined to be nonhazardous.
Frisiello’s attorney, Scott Gleason, said his client intends to plead not guilty, MassLive reported.
“He’s very much a overwhelmed young man who has got some issues and some difficulties that he’s been dealing with through his life,” Gleason said. “But I am optimistic and confident that when all of the facts play out there will be a very good understanding of what transpired and I’m expecting the best to work out.”
The Justice Department said Frisiello addressed a Boston-postmarked envelope to “DonalD trump Jr”. A contained letter appeared to call Trump Jr. “an awful, awful person,” and told him, “You make the family idiot, Eric, look smart. This is the reason why people hate you, so you are getting what you deserve.”
“This investigation should remind people that law enforcement will prioritize finding and charging those who try to cause panic by sending threatening letters containing what looks like dangerous substances,” United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew E. Lelling said in a statement. “Beyond terrifying the victims, these incidents caused law enforcement agencies around the country to spend time and money deploying emergency response units.”
Frisiello is also charged with sending another suspicious envelope to Nicola Hanna, an interim U.S. District Attorney in California. That envelope included a threatening letter that said, “Hope you end up the same place as Mark Salling.”
Salling, an actor who starred in the television show Glee, died by suicide in January while awaiting sentencing on a federal charge of possessing child pornography.
Three more suspicious letters were sent to Michele Dauber, a Professor of Law at Stanford University; U.S. Senator Deborah Stabenow of Michigan and Antonio Sabato Jr., a congressional candidate in California.
Dauber is a leader in the movement to recall the judge who sentenced convicted rapist Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer.
She addressed the arrest Thursday on Twitter.
“I am relieved that an arrest has been made,” the professor wrote. “It’s important to let the criminal process work. Our campaign is not going to be intimidated by threats and personal attacks.”
Each count of mailing a threat to injure the person of another carries a maximum prison sentence of five years for a threat to a non-federal official and 10 years for a threat to a federal official.