Guilty plea entered over anthrax hoax

A St. Clair, Alabama, man recently pleaded guilty in a federal court to charges stemming from the mailing of a series of anthrax hoax letters in spring 2010.

Clifton Dodd of Lincoln, Alabama, pleaded guilty to 23 counts of mailing letters that contained a threat in the form of a white powder that could have reasonably been perceived as the biological toxin anthrax.

Dodd entered the plea in front of District Court Judge Abdul Kallon just as the trial was set to begin. He also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to mail eight of the anthrax hoax letters.

“We are pleased with the defendant’s decision to plead guilty and look forward to sentencing,” U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said.

U.S. Senator Richard Selby (R.-Alabama) received a hoax letter from Dodd, as did Alabama Senator Jim Preuitt of Talladega, two Talladega state court judges, Talladega County Sheriff Jerry Studdard, several Talladega County Jail inmates and police investigators who had interviewed Dodd previously.

Dodd admitted to conspiring to send some of the letters along with another man. His co-defendant pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge last year.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Protective Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.