RENO, Nev. (AP) - A civil rights attorney in Reno who is the ex-wife of a California man suspected of mailing more than 120 hoax anthrax letters to media outlets said Thursday she was shocked to learn of his arrest.
Marc M. Keyser, 66 was arrested without incident at his home in Sacramento on Wednesday and is being charged with three counts of
sending hoax anthrax threats by mail. He was interviewed previously
by the FBI after a similar mailing in 2007, but he was not charged.
"Oh, my God. I have not been in touch with him for years," Terri Keyser-Cooper said on Thursday when reached by The Associated Press.
"I have no idea what he's been up to. I cannot imagine him doing any criminal activity," said Keyser-Cooper, who divorced Keyser in 1982. "He certainly was very mild-mannered. He was not in any trouble that I know of."
Keyser-Cooper, 61, has been involved in more than two-dozen high profile cases in northern Nevada the past 15 years involving allegations of discrimination and violation of civil rights.
She has filed a number of suits against police alleging excessive force, wrongful death and racial profiling, but also represented law officers alleging discrimination against them by their supervisors. She has represented the homeless and prison inmates and challenged city ordinances regarding panhandling and loitering related to prostitution.
Earlier this year, the Sparks City Council agreed to pay $250,000 to a street artist she represented who sued the city five years ago claiming his First Amendment rights had been violated when he was prohibited from setting up his easel on the sidewalk or selling his paintings without a license. That case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the city's appeal.
In 2006, a federal judge ordered a Reno charter school to drop its prohibition on a student she represented from reading a poem in a contest that included the words "hell" and "damn."
Keyser-Cooper helped win a $125,000 settlement from the city of Sparks in a wrongful death suit filed by the family of a man police shot to death in a confrontation outside a convenience store in 2003.
She helped win a $43,500 from the Reno City Council in 2002 on behalf of five black men who accused police of violating their civil rights, including use of excessive force and illegal search and seizure.
Associated Press writer Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco also
contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)