Seattle man sentenced over anthrax hoax letter

A retired Seattle attorney who sent an envelope filled with baking soda to a U.S. senator was sentenced to probation for the incident after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.

On May 8, a mail handler noticed white powder coming from an envelope that was sent to Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), according to The mail handler was decontaminated and the substance analyzed. It was feared that it could be anthrax.

There was also a hand written letter in the envelope that said, according to, “I hope you choke on your own excrement such as this.”

 The letter also had the name of Blake Howe, a 77 year-old former attorney who pleaded guilty to related charges in July.

When confronted about the letter at his home, Howe admitted he had sent the letter after receiving an anti-union mailer from DeMint’s campaign. Howe told that he did not intend to hurt anyone and was unaware of the deadly anthrax attacks that began in 2001.

"Howe admitted he mailed (the letter) and said he should have taken his name off the letter," Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Miyake said in a sentencing memo, according to "He asked how he should package powder next time so that the mailing doesn't leak."

Howe later admitted to misconduct and apologized for what he had done.

"It was a foolish thing to do," Howe said in a statement submitted to the court by his attorney, according to "He sent me a letter that I found insulting, and I wanted him to take notice and give my letter special attention.

"My actions were quick and impulsive. I've made efforts to better deal with being provoked and appropriately handling myself."

Howe pleaded guilty to a single count of attempted destruction of government property and was sentenced to probation.