I believe Michelle is right. I think this is a longstanding mail bug that has been discussed in detail on this list.
Check the archives, I seem to remember someone using GUI to avoid the issue.
On Mar 31, 2011, at 7:40am, Michelle Steiner wrote:
> On Mar 31, 2011, at 7:24 AM, Mahlon Lovett wrote:
>> My Mail preferences are set to plain text for new messages; every new message that I manually create starts as plain text. But, by script, I ALWAYS get a new message in Rich Text Format. Adding 'set default message format to plain text' doesn't seem to help
> I figured out the problem; unfortunately, it's a bug in mail.app or in Applescript. Whenever a new message is created by a script, "Message Format" in mail.app's preferences is set to Rich Text, even if it is set to Plain Text in the script.
> -- Michelle
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