Matthew Buquet made an appearance in federal court in Spokane Wednesday, charged with sending letters laced with the poison "ricin" to at least five different people and organizations – including the President of the United States.
His two-week trial is expected to begin May 5th in Spokane, despite earlier talk that it may be moved to Portland. Instead, a federal judge from Portland will travel here to oversee the case.
Buquet has been indicted by a grand jury on three counts: mailing threatening communications, mailing a threatening communication to the President of the United States and developing, producing, possessing and transferring a biological toxin.
Court records show the letters Buquet is charged with mailing also said, "We have a bomb placed. We are going to kill you. Hezbollah."
He has pleaded not guilty, but faces life in prison if convicted.
Buquet's trial was originally supposed to begin in mid-July, but because the case is so complex and involves more than 1,000 pages of discovery, audio recordings and information taken from cell phones, parties on all sides agree to move it back to allow for adequate time to prepare.
Also in court Wednesday, federal prosecutors said Buquet has tried contacting a witness or victim in the case – a clear violation of court order. However, his defense attorney said he'd just heard of that claim this morning and was not prepared to "confirm or deny" to the court that such contact was attempted.
Regardless, the judge reminded Buquet the only appropriate way to contact any parties involved is through his legal counsel.