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Clayton police, FBI respond to threatening letter with white powder at office of Albert Watkins

Clayton police, FBI respond to threatening letter with white powder at office of Albert Watkins

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CLAYTON — A threatening letter containing white powder that arrived at a high-profile Clayton lawyer's office Friday triggered a hazmat response and an FBI investigation, police and the lawyer said Saturday.

Lawyer Albert Watkins said the powder had been tested and probably was a harmless corn starch. He was also tested and cleared by a doctor.

The letter, mailed Jan. 16 from Arizona, contains the line, "You will NOT represent these traitors," and a line from Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2, "(L)et's kill all the lawyers."

Watkins said he believes the letter was triggered by his Jan. 14 announcement that he was representing Jacob A. Chansley, who was in the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, shirtless and wearing a horn and fur hat. Chansley is also known as the "Q Shaman" or "Qanon Shaman," and was a regular at rallies for Donald Trump.

At the time, Watkins said Trump should pardon Chansley and other supporters after he had urged them to march to the Capitol. After Trump left office, Watkins criticized his failure to pardon his supporters as a "betrayal."

"It's clear that somebody has animus that arises out of my representation of Mr. Chansley but the real question is whether that animus comes from somebody who is on the left or the right,” Watkins said. He said some believe, "If you represent somebody who is criminally accused, you're a bad guy too.”

Clayton police Cpl. Jennifer Schwartz said that police responded to a report of a suspicious letter Friday, but referred questions to the FBI. The bureau could not be immediately reached for comment Saturday.

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