Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Ex-Clerk Pleads Guilty to Powder Hoax Charge

DES MOINES, Iowa (CN) - A former Iowa legislative clerk admitted to sending the representative he worked for a threatening letter with a white powdery substance, the Justice Department said.

Michael McRae, 28, was a legislative clerk to Iowa Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad. He wrote a letter addressed to Abdul-Samad that included racial slurs and threats to kill McRae and Abdul-Samad, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

McRae put the letter and a white powdery substance into an envelope, and he opened the letter on the Iowa Legislature chamber floor on April 3, 2012. The white powder was released and came into contact with McRae and Abdul-Samad, the government says.

The former clerk pleaded guilty Monday to conveying false information concerning a biological weapon. He admitted in his plea agreement that he meant for the white powder to seem like a biological agent and that he carried out the hoax to create fear.

McRae's felony charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25, 2016.

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