Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: What happened to the engineer from Rancho Seco who was accused of sending threatening letters to President Bush? It seems like there wasn't actually anthrax but an inert powder used. Was the guy convicted and sentenced to prison or a medical facility?
Submitted by: Emmi, Sacramento
ANSWER: Michael Lee Braun, who worked as a nuclear engineer at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District's now-decommissioned Rancho Seco nuclear generating plant, was arrested in 2006 for sending threatening letters and white powder to the Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills, where President Bush was appearing at a fundraising event for then-Rep. John Doolittle.
According to stories in The Bee, Braun, an Elk Grove resident, pleaded guilty in April 2008 to making a threat against President Bush, providing false but frightening information, perpetrating hoaxes and mailing a threat to injure Tom Sullivan, a former Sacramento radio and television personality and Bee columnist.
Over more than four years, Braun mailed approximately 58 threatening letters, a majority of which contained a white powder that proved to be baking soda, according to federal prosecutors.
Braun was sentenced to four years and three months in prison. He also was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $43,715 in reimbursements to state and local agencies for hazardous material decontamination and response costs.
According to online information from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Braun, now 57, was released from prison in February.
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