Matthew Buquet, the suspect in the Ricin letter case, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of mailing a letter threatening to kill Federal Judge Fred Van Sickle in federal court Wednesday afternoon.
During his first appearance, Buquet was assigned a federal public defender and his bail hearing was set for next Tuesday at 2 p.m.
If convicted on the charge of sending a threatening letter, Buquet faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The American Postal Workers Union first alerted its employees about the Ricin letters a week ago Wednesday. Two letters, addressed to the Spokane Post Office and Federal Judge Fred Van Sickle, were mailed May 14, arrived at the post office May 17 and preliminarily tested positive for Ricin, a highly toxic substance made from castor beans for which there is no known antidote.
The indictment said the letter addressed to Judge Van Sickle contained a threat to kill. While the indictment made no mention of ricin, the FBI confirmed early Wednesday evening that the letters did contain the substance,