Anthrax hoax convictions upheld by appellate panel

Chad Conrad Castagana’s convictions for sending letters containing white powder to such notable figures as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and David Letterman were recently upheld by an appellate panel, according to a report released by the Los Angeles Daily News wire.

Castagana, 42, was found guilty of 14 counts of committing threats and hoaxes in 2007 in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. He was arrested near his California home by the FBI after agents on surveillance saw him deposit several packages into a mailbox.

In addition to Pelosi and Letterman, Castagana sent packages, filled with soap and cleansers to Jon Stewart, Senator Charles Schumer and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermannn.

The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 14 that prosecutors do not have to show that Castagana meant for his victims to believe the mixture he mailed was anthrax to convict him under federal law, according to the Los Angeles News report.

Following his initial arrest, Castagana told authorities he mailed the letters because he did not agree with the “liberal politics” of the recipients of his packages.

Castagana was sentenced to probation following a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. His term at Gateways Community Corrections Center, a halfway house, cannot exceed his five-year probation period as per the commitment order, the report said.