Saturday, August 11, 2007
Know your Enemy on Domestic Terrorism. I believe we have a lot of work to do.
DEFENDANT PLEADS GUILTY TO ANTHRAX HOAX THAT CLOSED PALM BEACH COUNTY COURTHOUSE
R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announce that defendant Anthony Vassalotti pled guilty on Monday, August 6, 2007, to sending a letter on March 20, 2006 to the Palm Beach County Clerk of Court containing what purported to be anthrax. Vasslotti entered his plea just before jury selection began for his trial.
On March 16, 2006, Vassalotti, 42, was sentenced to 40 years in state prison for aggravated battery. After returning to the Palm Beach County Jail, he mailed threatening letters to the sentencing judge, the prosecutor, and the Clerk of Court. The letters were delivered on or about March 20, 2006. Each letter contained a white powder that purported to be anthrax. Fire Rescue officials shut down the Palm Beach County Courthouse for several hours while they investigated whether the powder was anthrax. Ultimately, they determined that the substance was talcum powder.
Vassalotti pled guilty to sending a hoax letter. He faces up to 5 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. United States District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra scheduled the sentencing for October 19, 2007, at 11:30am at the Paul G. Rogers Federal Building in West Palm Beach.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Postal Inspection Service. This case is being prosecuted by United States Attorney Bruce Reinhart.