Prosecutors charge Massachusetts man in Trump Jr. hoax threat letter

BOSTON, March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors in Boston on Thursday filed federal criminal charges against a Massachusetts man accused of sending a series of threatening letters, including one containing a powder that was addressed to U.S. President Donald Trump's eldest son.

The letter addressed to Donald Trump Jr. led to Trump's daughter-in-law, Vanessa Trump, being taken to a hospital after opening it on Feb. 12. Two other people also went to the hospital but the white powder in the envelope proved to be harmless.

The charges filed by federal prosecutors against Daniel Frisiello, 24, of Beverly, Massachusetts, included mailing a threat to injure a person and one of false information and hoaxes to at least five addresses around the United States, according to court papers.

The first letter, sent to Donald Trump Jr.'s address, contained a letter that read in part, "You are an awful, awful person ... you are getting what you deserve," prosecutors said in court papers. 

SEE ALSO: Police look at Meghan Markle 'anthrax' letter as racist hate crime

Similar threatening letters were send to U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the U.S. Attorney for California, a law professor at Stanford University and a California man running for Congress as a Republican, prosecutors said.

All five contained threatening messages and a powdery substance that investigators found not to be hazardous.

U.S. authorities have been on alert for mail containing white powder since 2001, when envelopes laced with anthrax were sent to media outlets and U.S. lawmakers, killing five people.

In 2016, white powder, which also proved harmless, was sent to the home of Eric Trump, Trump Jr.'s brother.

Prosecutors said reviews of social media posts led them to view Frisiello as a potential suspect and that a search of his trash revealed a computer printout referencing two of the people who received the threatening letters. 

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