The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 24, 2013

2nd Miss. man investigated in ricin case

(Continued)

A one-sentence document filed by federal prosecutors said charges against Curtis were dropped, but left open the possibility they could be reinstated if authorities found more to prove their case. Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment, but the document said the ongoing investigation had revealed new information. It did not elaborate.

Dutschke and Judge Holland know each other: In 2007, he lost his Republican bid for a seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives to Holland's son, Democratic state Rep. Steve Holland, who was the incumbent.

Steve Holland previously said that during a political rally in the small town of Verona in 2007, Dutschke gave a speech disparaging the Holland family, including him, his mother and his wife.

Holland said his mother, who spoke just after Dutschke at the rally, called him back on the stage and said, "You're not going to disparage me. Now, you apologize to me."

Holland said Dutschke returned to the stage and at Judge Holland's instruction, got down on his knees and apologized, but Dutschke disputed that Tuesday.

"That's just Steve Holland being Steve Holland," he said, adding that he did not get down on his knees and apologize for anything. "He's a bit grandiose about the way he describes things."

Since Curtis' arrest at his Corinth, Miss., home on April 17, his attorneys have said their client didn't do it and suggested he was framed. An FBI agent testified in court this week that no evidence of ricin was found in searches of Curtis' home.

The dismissal is the latest twist in a case that has been strange from the beginning and rattled the country during the same week as the Boston Marathon bombing and a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.

Dutschke and Curtis are no strangers to each other. Dutschke said the two had a disagreement and the last contact they had was in 2010. Dutschke said he threatened to sue Curtis for saying he was a member of Mensa, a group for people with high IQs.

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