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Alleged writer of racist letters pleads not guilty

/ Source: The Associated Press

A man suspected of writing racially hateful letters to blacks, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, pleaded not guilty in federal court Thursday.

The judge ordered the man, David Tuason, 46, held without bond, pending a pretrial hearing for May 6 and a trial date June 2.

Tuason is charged with two counts of transmitting threatening interstate communications and six counts of mailing threatening communications.

Donna Grill, an assistant public defender representing Tuason, declined comment after the hearing.

The FBI says Tuason wrote threatening letters over two decades, often targeting black men who were seen with white women. The letters dated to the late 1980s, seemed to stop in the early 1990s, but started again later that decade.

FBI agents found Tuason a few months ago when he started sending messages via e-mail instead of U.S. mail, authorities said.

According to the indictment, Tuason sent a letter to the Supreme Court on July 25, 2003, addressed to an associate justice of the court referred to in the indictment as "CT." Thomas' wife is white.

In the letter, which contained several racially derogatory remarks, the writer threatened to blow up the Supreme Court building, and wrote that "CT" would be "castrated, shot or set on fire ... I want him killed."

A Supreme Court spokeswoman confirmed earlier that Thomas was threatened.