Dutschke’s withdrawl of plea in ricin letters case leaves legal questions

gavel_rgbABERDEEN — James Everett Dutschke’s request to withdraw his guilty plea to charges he sent poisoned letters to the president, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge could bring him more legal trouble.

Dutschke also pleaded guilty to state fondling charges. Prosecutors recommended he serve a 20-year sentence at the same time as the proposed 25-year federal sentence under a plea agreement tying the two cases.

Lee County prosecutors say if the federal guilty plea is withdrawn, they probably will move ahead with sentencing in the fondling case. That could put Dutschke in state prison for up to 45 years.

If Dutschke is released from the federal plea, authorities also could pursue allegations that he recruited an inmate in a second attempt to frame entertainer Paul Kevin Curtis in the letters case.

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