Meet The New Man At The Center Of The Ricin Case

As the case against Paul Kevin Curtis for allegedly mailing ricin was unraveling Tuesday afternoon, FBI agents were already searching the house of another man in connection with the ongoing investigation.

Their focus has shifted to Everett Dutschke — a failed political candidate, taekwondo teacher, and bluesman who’s currently facing child molestation charges. While the feds has been publicly silent about Dutschke and the search of his home, Curtis’ lawyers have been very loudly and publicly pointing the finger at Dutschke, claiming he framed Curtis because of a feud that began with music and martial arts.

Dutschke has not been charged in the case and has denied involvement in the mailing of the ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and two other officials.

At a strange, celebratory press conference after the charges against Curtis were dismissed Tuesday, his attorney Christi McCoy, suggested he was freed because investigators have moved on to “another suspect.” Though she did not name this other suspect, McCoy said she believed investigators were still at Dutschke’s home. McCoy first connected Dutschke to the case earlier this week when she suggested he was interested in framing Curtis for the crime because of a longstanding argument between the two men.

Curtis provided further details about the feud at the press conference when reporters asked him about his relationship with Dutschke. He claimed he did not know Dutschke well, but had received angry messages from him and heard indications from others that Dutschke had a major grudge against him. Curtis implied Dutschke may have developed these negative feelings towards him when they studied taekwondo together or because of his career as an Elvis impersonator. According to Curtis, one of the messages he received from Dutschke was an email saying, “I’ve created a band called Robodrum and we’re going to throw you off the national circuit.”

Multiple websites identify Dutschke as the frontman of a group called Dusty and the Robodrum. On Facebook, the group’s act is described as “Live-Loop Oriented Rock with tons of lasers.” According to reviews, Robodrum has released numerous albums and recorded with several other artists including Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese.

In addition to his musical activities, Dutschke operated a taekwondo studio and worked as an insurance agent. Advertisements posted on a Myspace page under Dutschke’s name and a username he used in his personal email dubbed him “the insurance warrior.” An investigator with the office of First Circuit Court District Attorney Trent Kelly confirmed to TPM that Dutschke is currently out on bond and facing three charges of fondling for an incident that the county sheriff has said involved a seven-year-old girl who was at his taekwondo studio.

Dutschke also dabbled in politics. In 2007, he ran against a man named Steve Holland for a seat in Mississippi’s House of Representatives. A YouTube page with Dutschke’s name and username shows several videos he seems to have made attacking Holland during that race. It also included a clip of a man identified as Dutschke conducting surveillance on people who were allegedly vandalizing his campaign posters and driving after them while listening to talk radio. Dutschke was defeated by Holland in that race.

Along with President Barack Obama and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) a ricin-tainted letter was received by Holland’s mother, Mississippi Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland. In a conversation with TPM on Tuesday, Steve Holland said he hasn’t heard from Dutschke since their race.

“I’m telling you the gospel truth, he ran against me and I saw him four or five times in the course of the campaign in public discourse,” Holland said. “He’s never bothered me. He ran a very nasty, vicious, angry campaign against me, but I didn’t think anything about it. … I don’t think the guy’s thought twice about me since then. … I’ve had no indication of it.”

Holland said he felt Dutschke’s campaign was vicious because it was solely focused on attacks against him.

“Everything he did was negative. I don’t remember him saying, ‘I, Everett Dutschke stand for this, I’m going to do this,'” Holland explained. “He was always negative about ‘Boss Holland,’ that’s the term he gave me.”

Dutschke apparently did not call to congratulate Holland after his victory.

“You kidding me?” Holland said. “Hell no.”

Dutschke has previously denied any involvement in the ricin mailings. TPM spoke to Dutschke this afternoon shortly before FBI agents reportedly arrived at his house. He expressed shock upon hearing Curtis had been released and then said he had to go. Subsequent attempts to reach him have been unsuccessful. Both the FBI and the local Lee County Sheriff’s Department have not responded to multiple requests for comment on this story.

In addition to the many attacks on Holland, the YouTube page that appears to be Dutschke’s also featured a clip from September 2008 in which Dutschke predicted that year’s presidential race would be won by “whoever treats us as if we’re, you know, intelligent.”

“If you’re beholden to the Republican Party or if you’re beholden to the Democrat [sic] Party, you are not a free and independent thinker by your very nature. … I am so fed up with people who cling to their labels, their party labels, way too tightly,” Dutschke said, before adding, “It’s September 11th, I’m feeling a little reflective today, so that’s just my one small voice.”

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