An ex-court mediator in Ohio has been arrested for allegedly sending three dozen feces-laced letters to Republican politicians in his state, including Rep. Jim Jordan.
Richard Steinle, who worked for an Ohio county court, allegedly mailed the poop-contaminated correspondence to all 25 Republican state senators in early July before he was caught later that month, authorities said.
He was charged in federal court with sending “injurious articles as nonmailable,” which breaks a federal law that prohibits mailing hazardous material, according to court records.
Some of the letters included words like “pig and “racist,” court records stated.
It’s unclear if the feces came from people or animals.
The US Postal Inspection Service began probing the repulsive mail to the Ohio Statehouse last month, but investigators believe Steinle’s alleged malfeasance traces back to last August when letters were sent to pols in Washington DC, Kentucky, California and Ohio.
Ohio state senators never received the letters because they were intercepted by mailroom workers in the Ohio Statehouse and post offices in Cleveland and Akron.
Late last month, authorities began to surveil Steinle’s home following a tip from another court employee that Steinle might be the poop perp.
Investigators saw the 77-year-old mail a letter while wearing a glove. They then retrieved that letter, addressed to GOP’s Jim Jordan, and found it had feces inside, as well as a $1 bill and a greeting card, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, citing court records.
The return addresses listed on the letters were the 9th Ohio District Court of Appeals, the FBI’s Akron office and the home of an appeals court staff member whose spouse refused to represent Steinle in a lawsuit, the newspaper reported.
Ohio Senate GOP spokesperson John Fortney called the episode “outrageous.”
“This type of biohazard attack doesn’t just stop with the people it’s directed towards,” Fortney said. “This is something that could potentially affect every single employee at the Ohio Statehouse, regardless of their political affiliation.”
Steinle was fired from his mediator job with Portage County in 2017 after he was there for 17 years and more than 4,000 mediations, the Plain Dealer reported, citing a lawsuit he filed after losing his job.
Steinle was let out on bail after he posted a $20,000 unsecured bond with his next hearing Aug. 25.
He could face a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.