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UPDATE: Police say liquid in suspicious package only perfume

Reported by: Paul Merrill

Videographer: B. Flynn
Videographer: M. Jackson
Editor: M. Jackson
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Updated: 4/13/2011 5:16 pm


There are new details now on the suspicious and bizarre package that showed up at the office of an Albany lawmaker Tuesday.

State police say the liquid that arrived with a stuffed monkey at State Sen. Greg Ball's office appears to be perfume.

Captain John Kowalewski said that it doesn't seem as though anything in the package was dangerous. However, state police, postal inspectors, and the FBI are investigating.

The Georgia woman who claims she sent the package told FOX23 News exclusively that she didn't mean any harm.


State Senator Greg Ball says this package, toy monkey, and threatening letter arrived at his Albany office on Tuesday. (Courtesy:  Jim Coleman, Chief of Staff for State Senator Greg Ball)
State Senator Greg Ball says this package, toy monkey, and threatening letter arrived at his Albany office on Tuesday. (Courtesy: Jim Coleman, Chief of Staff for State Senator Greg Ball)

A bizarre package arrived at the Albany office of State Sen. Greg Ball on Tuesday.

Staffers say they received a package containing a vial of liquid, a hate-filled letter, and a toy monkey wearing the Star of David.

Ball also allegedly received a strange email on Tuesday morning.

All of it prompted New York State Police to shut down his office.

"This is pretty outlandish and horrific," Ball told FOX23 News. "The hate speech in it is serious. We're taking it seriously but we've got to continue to do our work."

Both the email and the package appear to come from a woman named Jameela Barnette in Mariette, Georgia. She lists her phone number in the email.

FOX23 News contacted Barnette by phone on Tuesday night. She says she is a grandmother who read about Ball on the Internet.

She told FOX23 News that she is a Muslim and is upset with the hearings that Ball is conducting in his role as chairman of the State Senate's Homeland Security Committee.

FOX23 News asked her why she sent Ball the email and package and she responded "to let him know how I felt about his racist hearings."

Last week, Ball held hearings in New York City on New York's vulnerability to terrorism.

He said, "We're nearly 10 years outside of 9/11 and the reality is that New York State, New York City still has a soft underbelly."

Barnette responds, "He's vulnerable!  He keeps messing with Muslims. Muslims have not been harassing anyone."

Barnette calls herself a messenger and insists that she is not a threat.

FOX23 News asked her about the vial of liquid that hazardous materials teams sent out to be tested. She responds, "I'd better tell you this because I don't want people to think I'm a dangerous person. It's just perfume oil."

New York State Police are investigating the incident but Barnette says she hasn't been contacted by any law enforcement agencies.

"They have not called," Barnette says. "The only call I've gotten was from you."

This is not the first time that Ball has received a strange threat. Back in 2009, he says someone left a dead goat in front of his home.

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