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Man Arrested in White Powder Mailings to Donald Trump Jr., Antonio Sabato Jr., Other Public Figures: Feds

The 24-year-old man, Daniel Frisiello, was arrested Thursday morning; authorities say he sent similar envelopes filled with powder to four other public figures across the U.S., including the actor and congressional candidate Antonio Sabato Jr.

What to Know

  • The 24-year-old man arrested in the white powder mailing to Donald Trump Jr. also sent powder to other public figures, feds say
  • Among the four others who received powder and letters were Antonio Sabato Jr., a Stanford professor, a U.S. senator and a federal prosecutor
  • Ultimately, a separate "glitter bomb" that was ordered to be delivered to the professor was what helped feds trace the mailings to Frisiello

Authorities say they've arrested the man who sent an envelope of white powder to the Manhattan apartment of Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa last month. 

Federal prosecutors in Boston said Thursday morning the 24-year-old man, Daniel Frisiello, mailed five envelopes filled with powder to public figures across the U.S. in the last few weeks, including Trump Jr. and the actor Antonio Sabato Jr., who is running for a congressional seat in California. 

Frisiello was arrested Thursday morning while he was on his way to work, authorities said. He was said to be cooperative. Attorney information for the man was not immediately available. 

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In the envelope sent to Trump Jr. last month, the powder -- which was later determined to be inert and harmless -- was sent along with an insult-filled letter to the president's son. The envelope was postmarked from Boston.

“You are an awful, awful person. I am surprised that your father lets you speak on TV. You the family idiot. Eric looks smart," the letter read, according to officials familiar with the case. "This is the reason why people hate you. You are getting what you deserve. So shut the f--- up.”

Vanessa Trump, 40, opened the letter and was decontaminated at the scene as a precaution, according to officials. She called 911 to report coughing and nausea, and she was taken to a hospital for observation, also strictly as a precaution. She was not hurt, nor was anyone else. 

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The three others who allegedly received powder-filled envelopes from Frisiello include a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, Nicola T. Hanna; a law professor at Stanford, Michele Dauber; and Michigan U.S. Sen. Deborah Stabenow. With each envelope, Frisiello allegedly enclosed computer-printed, cutout notes expressing certain views -- some political, some not. 

"These kinds of hoaxes may not cause physical harm but they scare the heck out of people because most of us recall the Anthrax mailings of the early 2000s, when five people were killed," said U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. "These hoaxes are easy to pull off -- all you need is an envelope, a stamp and a white powdery substance. So you'll see this office aggressively purse these kinds of cases." 

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In addition to the white powder, Frisiello also ordered a "glitter bomb" to be sent to the professor at Stanford, prosecutors said. The message in the glitter bomb was similar to the one sent in the envelope of white powder -- and federal agents were able to track Frisiello's information through the company from which he allegedly ordered the glitter bomb. 

Social media postings and items found in Frisiello's trash corroborated he was behind the mailings, federal authorities said. 

Catholic Charities of Boston confirmed to NBC Boston that Frisiello is an employee, and said in a statement he has been placed on immediate leave. A spokesperson said the charity is cooperating with the investigation.

"The FBI has assured us that the charges do not involve any activity in his role at Catholic Charities but concern alleged threats against a political figure," the charity said in a statement. "As a matter of background, Catholic Charities processed the appropriate background checks when the employee was hired."

Vanessa Trump and Donald Trump Jr. previously tweeted they were thankful their family were safe and unharmed after the "incredibly scary situation." 

"Truly disgusting that certain individuals choose to express their opposing views with such disturbing behavior," Trump Jr. tweeted. 

It was not the first time a Trump has received white powder in the mail. In March 2016, police detectives and FBI agents investigated a threatening letter sent to the Manhattan apartment of Donald Trump Jr.'s brother, Eric, that also contained a white powder that turned out to be harmless. Envelopes containing white powder were also sent to Trump Tower, twice in 2016.

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