Ex Iowa legislative clerk sentenced for bio weapon hoax

Des Moines Capitol Building

Des Moines Capitol Building

DES MOINES – A man who opened a letter containing a fake biological weapon on the floor of the Iowa legislature’s chamber floor in 2012 was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in jail in federal court Tuesday.

Michael D. McRae, a former legislative clerk of Iowa Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, admitted to writing a threatening letter addressed to Abdul-Samad that he opened on the floor during an active legislative session on April 3, 2012. When McRae opened the letter – which contained racial slurs and threats to kill the legislator – a white powdery substance was released into the air. Prosecutors argued that McRae intended to simulate a biological agent or toxin.

During trial, McRae  admitted to perpetrating the hoax to create fear in others. McCrae was angry about legislation that would have made Iowa a “stand your ground” state and had protested on the capitol steps prior to opening the letter on the floor.

In addition to jail time, McRae was ordered to pay restitution of $2,747.50.