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Governor Abbott Declines Comment On Being Mailed Explosive Device

AUSTIN AND DALLAS (CBS11) - Citing a criminal case, Governor Greg Abbott didn't want to talk Monday about the woman accused of mailing him a homemade explosive device that he opened, but failed to detonate.

Julia Poff of South Texas is charged with not only mailing Governor Abbott the device in October of 2016, but former President Barack Obama as well.

Julia Poff
Julia Poff

Federal court documents say the Governor himself opened the package at the Governor's Mansion, but that it didn't go off because he "didn't open it as designed."

An agent said in open court that Poff was upset with Mr. Abbott because she hadn't received support from her ex-husband.

Republican State Senator Don Huffines of Dallas said, "It is shocking that anyone would send a package like this to the Governor. An attack on the Governor is an attack on all Texans and we should all be outraged by it."

A spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety, which screens mail at the Governor's Mansion, said the agency doesn't discuss its safety protocols.

The Governor's office also declined comment.

Huffines said, "I think they can always look at new protocols, but I do have confidence in the Governor's team and DPS. My experience with DPS is that they're highly professional and I'm sure they've learned a lot from this incident and I'm sure they'll handle it very well."

Documents say Poff mailed President Obama a similar device at the White House and that she did not like the President.

The agent testified that the device was detected in screening and determined safe.

Investigators report that cat hair found under the address label sent to the White House was "microscopically consistent" with the hair of one of Poff's cats.

She is also accused of mailing a third device to the Social Security Administration in Maryland.

In addition to charges related to the explosive devices, Poff is also facing charges she fraudulently applied for and received nutritional assistance from the federal government, and made false statements during bankruptcy proceedings.

A federal judge ordered Poff detained until after the outcome of her trial, which is set to begin January 8th.

The judge said Poff would be a flight risk. If convicted, she faces the potential of being sentenced to years in prison.

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