Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maher was target of letter with unknown substance sent to venue

LOS ANGELES -- Comedian Bill Maher will perform Saturday at a Palm Desert theater where a threatening letter containing a powdery substance was sent Friday, a theater spokesman said.

The Los Angeles Times also reported recieving a letter with an unknown substance Friday. Early field testing indicated the powder was not harmful, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. However, the substance is being tested further at a lab in Los Angeles, she said.

"The show will go on as planned," Mitchell Gershenfeld, director of presentations and theater operations at the McCallum Theatre, said. "We will have security, as we do at all our shows at the McCallum Theatre."

The show is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

Riverside County sheriff's Cpl. Matt Spain said the letter was addressed to Maher, the host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."

"It contained specific threats made against Bill Maher," said Spain, who did not provide details.

Because of the letter, Friday night's concert by musician Boz Scaggs was canceled, and several people at the theater were treated as a precaution for possible contamination, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said.

A deputy sent to investigate the discovery was not able to identify the substance inside the letter, but did determine that it was not a controlled substance, Valenzuela said.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department was told about the letter at the theater at 73000 Fred Waring Drive around 11:40 a.m. Friday, said sheriff's

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