Cesar Sayoc trembled and cried Thursday as he pleaded guilty to mailing pipe bombs to President Donald Trump’s political enemies.
The Florida man copped to 65 counts, including use of a weapon of mass destruction and illegal mailing of explosives with intent to kill. He faces a max of life in prison.
“In October 2018 I made devices that were designed to look like pipe bombs and sent them through the U.S. mail,” he said, speaking almost in a whisper.
He listed the recipients, including Robert De Niro, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CNN and others. He also detailed the components of the 16 crude bombs that featured a digital alarm clock with wires attached.
He filled plastic pipes with powder from fireworks, fertilizer, powdered chlorine and glass fragments. He admitted he put pictures of the recipients in the packages with red X’s over their faces.
“I know these actions were wrong, and I’m extremely sorry,” he said, starting to shake and sob.
He will be sentenced by Manhattan Federal Judge Jed Rakoff on Sept. 12.
“For five days in October 2018, Cesar Sayoc rained terror across the country, sending high-ranking officials and former elected leaders explosive packages through the mail. Thankfully, no one was hurt by these dangerous devices, but his actions left an air of fear and divisiveness in their wake. Sayoc has taken responsibility for his crimes, and will soon be sentenced to significant time in prison,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.
Sayoc, 57, sat through most of the proceeding with his mouth slightly open and his eyes locked on the judge. He wore a blue jail uniform and shackles around his ankles. At times he seemed confused and asked the judge questions.
He was particularly concerned about the possibility of the government seizing virtually all of his assets under the terms of his plea. That means the government could take his van covered in stickers of Trump’s enemies — many of them prominent Democrats — with crosshairs. The right-wing fanatic was living in the van at the time of his arrest in South Florida.
“Are they going to list the items to be taken?” Sayoc asked.
Legal arguments hinted that Sayoc’s lawyers would argue at sentencing he never intended for the bombs to actually explode. But under questioning from the judge Sayoc did acknowledge there was a risk the devices could detonate.
Sayoc had worked as a DJ at a strip club, a bodybuilder and a pizza deliveryman prior to his arrest. Photos showed he had been a regular presence at Trump’s rallies. A family friend told the New York Daily News Sayoc suffered from mental illness.
A former employer said he had an extreme steroid habit.
Sayoc’s internet history showed him researching his intended victims, authorities said, including Google searches for “address for barack Obama” and “hilary Clinton hime address.”
“I sent all of the 16 devices with the intent to threaten and intimidate people and with the intent to injure property,” Sayoc said.
© 2019 New York Daily News
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