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California Briefing / SACRAMENTO

Man gets 4 years for anthrax hoax

June 21, 2008|Eric Bailey

A former nuclear plant engineer accused of dispatching more than 50 hoax anthrax letters to businesses, the media and government officials, including President Bush, has been sentenced to more than four years in prison, authorities announced Friday.

Michael Lee Braun, 53, a retired engineer at the mothballed Rancho Seco nuclear facility in southern Sacramento County, pleaded guilty to sending letters containing threats and white powder that he claimed was "poison" and a "death powder."

Laboratory tests proved that in each case the powder was baking soda.

Braun pleaded guilty in April to perpetuating a hoax by sending at least 58 of the letters over about four years to federal, state and local government officials, news and radio reporters, a California Superior Court, hotels and commercial entities.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Garcia sentenced Braun to 51 months in prison and ordered him to pay more than $50,000 in fines and reimbursement.

-- Eric Bailey

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