BOSTON (AP) – A Massachusetts man was arrested Thursday and charged with sending letters with white powder to five people, including one to Donald Trump Jr. that landed his wife, Vanessa, in the hospital.
Daniel Frisiello, of Beverly, is accused of mailing five envelopes earlier this month with threatening messages and a white substance, which turned out to be nonhazardous.
“These kind of hoaxes may not cause physical harm, but they scare the heck out of people,” said Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.
Hoax attacks using white powder play on fears that date to 2001, when letters containing deadly anthrax were mailed to news organizations and the offices of two U.S. senators. Those letters killed five people.
Frisiello was expected to appear in federal court in Worcester later Thursday. It could not immediately be determined if he had a lawyer.
Authorities say Frisiello sent five envelopes early last month that included threatening messages and white substances. The envelopes were postmarked in Boston.
Federal authorities said one of the letters containing powder was sent to Antonio Sabato Jr., the Republican former underwear model and soap opera actor who is running for a U.S. House seat in California.
Other recipients were Debbie Stabenow, the Democratic U.S. senator from Michigan; Nicola Hanna, an interim U.S. attorney in California; and Michele Dauber, a Stanford University law professor who has promoted the effort to recall the judge who presided over the Brock Turner sexual assault case.
The letter to the president’s son was opened by Vanessa Trump on Feb. 12. She called 911 and reported she was coughing and felt nauseous. She was hospitalized briefly.
The substance in the letter turned out to be cornstarch.
The envelope sent to Trump included a typed message calling him an “awful, awful person,” according to court documents.
“I am surprised that your father lets you speak on TV,” the message said. “You make the family idiot, Eric, look smart.”