WASHINGTON (CNN) - An Ethiopian immigrant with a history of mental health problems is in custody after being accused of mailing a letter with HIV-tainted blood to Barack Obama when he was president-elect, according to court records.
Saad Bedrie Hussein told investigators that he is an admirer of Obama and that the letter - containing his photo, an admission ticket to Obama's election night victory party in Chicago's Grant Park and six index cards containing writing and reddish stains - was his way of seeking government help and tickets to Obama's inauguration.
Hussein, who has HIV, said he "purposely cut one of his fingers with a razor so he could bleed on the letter," according to an affidavit by Terry L. Cullivan, an investigator with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The letter, postmarked December 27 and written in an Ethiopian language, was addressed to Obama at the Illinois Department on Aging in Springfield, Illinois. When the letter was opened two days later, it was found to contain an orange powder, Cullivan said. A state employee then took the letter to another state office, resulting in a two-hour lockdown of the building, affecting more than 300 people, the affidavit says.