Prosecutors oppose release of Quebec woman accused of mailing poison to Donald Trump

Jacob Serebrin
·2 min read

MONTREAL — Prosecutors in the United States say a Canadian woman accused of sending a poisoned letter to President Donald Trump is too dangerous to be released.

In a memo filed with the Washington D.C. district court on Friday, attorney Michael Sherwin argued that Pascale Ferrier poses a flight risk. Sherwin's memo also cited the nature of Ferrier's alleged crimes and the strength of the government's evidence against her.

"This is a defendant with access to firearms, false identification documents, dangerous chemicals and a foreign country passport, who has threatened and attempted grave acts of violence against government officials in the United States," Sherwin wrote. "The nature and seriousness of the danger that she would pose if released cannot be overstated."

Ferrier is a citizen of Canada and France. She was arrested at a U.S. border crossing on Sept. 20, allegedly in possession of a handgun and several other weapons, nearly 300 rounds of ammunition, and a fake Texas driver's licence.

She has been charged with sending a letter containing the poison ricin, which was intercepted before it was delivered to the White House. U.S. authorities say they believe Ferrier also sent letters containing ricin to law enforcement and corrections officials in Texas, who were connected to her arrest and detention in that state in the spring of 2019.

According to prosecutors, the letter to Trump contains similar language to the letters sent to officials in Texas. The letter to Trump refers to the poison as a "special gift" and concludes with a threat to "find a better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come." The letters are all signed "Free Rebel Spirit."

In 2019, Ferrier was arrested in Texas for weapons offences and for tampering with a government record after she was found with a fake drivers' licence. She was released -- after spending more than two months in a Hidalgo County Jail -- when the charges were dropped.

Sherwin's memo said that not only should Ferrier continue to be detained but that a detention hearing is unnecessary. A U.S. federal judge in New York ordered Ferrier's continued detention on Sept. 28 as well as her transfer to the Washington D.C. area, where she was charged in connection with the poisoned letter.

Ferrier is scheduled back in court on Nov. 4.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press