JACKSON, Miss. -- After U.S. Magistrate Judge Allan Alexander issued an order for dismissal against the man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and two other politicians, the nation has turned its eye to J. Everett Dutschke, a disgraced former politician whose house was searched Tuesday by federal authorities for links to the case.
Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, Miss., who is currently the subject of a child molestation investigation by the Tupelo Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff's Department, adamantly claims that he has nothing to do with the letters attributed to Paul Kevin Curtis, who was released on bond before lunchtime Tuesday.
Curtis' charges were dismissed shortly before 5 p.m.
The document says the ongoing investigation has revealed new but unspecified information. An FBI agent had testified in court that no evidence of ricin was found at Curtis's home.
Meanwhile, authorities searched Tuesday at the home of another Mississippi man in connection with the case.
In a phone interview, Dustchke said he didn't realize that there would soon be media outside his house and he would be the center of attention.
"I consented to the search earlier, and I didn't know it would be this big of a deal," he said.
On Monday, an FBI agent said federal authorities didn't find any ricin in Curtis' Corinth, Miss., home or vehicle. Christi McCoy, Curtis' defense attorney, said the search results bolstered Curtis' claims of innocence.
On Tuesday, federal authorities including the 47th Civil Support Team, a full-time response team for emergencies or terrorist events that involve weapons of mass destruction or toxic industrial chemicals, searched Dutschke's house.
He said he feels like his implication is a defense trick to establish reasonable doubt.
"I don't know anything about this. Where are the allegations coming from? Who made the allegations? The defense attorney for the accused," he said.
Dutschke said McCoy's bringing his name into the case has caused his family a lot of problems.
"It has made my family incredibly unsafe. It has put a target on us, and it was reckless and irresponsible," she said. "The phone has been ringing off the hook, with calls and hang-ups and all sorts of horrible things."
Dutschke denies reports that he and Curtis were rivals of any kind, saying they corresponded at one point because Dutschke wanted Curtis to take what he said was a fake Mensa certificate off his Facebook page.
He said that caused some arguments, but that he never considered Curtis any kind of rival. He said those correspondences took place in 2010, and that he hasn't heard anything from Curtis since.