POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. – A physician whose home was searched last summer in an investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife and stepdaughter.
Berry was arrested after a domestic dispute at a hotel where the family was taken during a search of his parents' home on Aug. 5, 2003.
Five people died and 17 were sickened in the fall of 2001 by anthrax mailings that targeted government and media officials as the nation was still reeling from the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
FBI spokesman Joseph Paris (search) said the agency is still investigating the anthrax case, but he would not comment on Berry's involvement.
As part of his plea, Berry dropped countercharges of assault against his wife, Tana Luecken-Berry, and 18-year-old stepdaughter Dara Leucken. The couple are still married but live separately.
Berry did not address the court. His lawyer, Clifford Lazzaro, said Berry attributed the incident to stress caused by FBI searches of his home in upstate New York and his parent's summer home on the Jersey Shore where the family was staying at the time.
"I think the events of the day caused this unfortunate incident to occur. My client was obviously under a great deal of pressure," Lazzaro said. "It doesn't excuse my client's behavior."
Lazzaro has said no evidence was found that would link Berry to the anthrax mailings and he said Berry would be exonerated.
Berry founded an organization in 1997 that trains medical professionals to respond to chemical and biological attacks.
After the raids, he was fired from his job as an emergency room physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.