The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, located in Brooklyn, was on lockdown shortly after 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon after an anthrax threat, a court official and a security personnel for the court confirmed to TPM.
A source in the courthouse passed along an email from the court clerk informing court personnel of the threat.
“An envelope was received with an anthrax threat and a white power and was released in the main clerk’s office on the first floor. Only one staff member came into direct contact with the powder,” the email read.
“At this time and until we get an all clear from the USMS, no one can leave that area once they have entered. It is very important that no one enter that space (mail room, file room, docketing, intake, personnel, etc) and that the judges’ elevator on the Adams Street side of the building not be used to exit on the first floor.”
The USMS is the U.S. Marshal’s Service, which, among other things, provides security for the federal courts. (Update: A USMS official confirmed the anthrax threat and said it was under investigation. The official said there have been “no injuries or illnesses.”)
The source said she saw a New York City Fire Department ambulance, three police cars and a firetruck outside the window of her courthouse office.
Earlier Tuesday, the same courthouse was the scene of oral arguments in a high-profile case in which the Obama administration is facing off against reproductive rights advocates over access to Plan B, known as the morning-after pill.
UPDATE: Shortly after 5:00 P.M., court personnel received an email informing them that they could exit the building via a cordoned off area, the source said.
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