Cesar Sayoc pleads guilty to mailing explosive devices to politicians, media figures

Authorities Arrest Suspect In Serial Mail Bombing Case In South Florida

A Florida man pleaded guilty on Thursday to using weapons of mass destruction and other crimes in connection with mailing explosives to prominent Democrats and other critics of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Sayoc sent 16 rudimentary bombs - none of which detonated - to targets including Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, several members of Congress, former President Barack Obama and actor Robert De Niro.

Although no bombs exploded, each new report of a device found heightened the tension in the weeks before last year's hotly contested midterm elections.

The 56-year-old has been held without bail in NY since his arrest on 26 October, 2018.

At the time, Sayoc had been living in a white van plastered with pro-Trump stickers, the slogan "CNN SUCKS" and images of Democratic leaders with red cross-hairs over their faces.

"Thankfully no one was hurt by these risky devices, but his actions left an air of fear and divisiveness in their wake", Berman said.

When Rakoff asked Sayoc whether he intended the devices to explode, or to kill or injure people, Sayoc said he did not.

New Zealanders gather for public prayers 1 week after mosque shootings
He provided the required references and was interviewed the following month in person in his home, which was also inspected. Many people responded to the tweet , with one person saying: "Our PM reflects the hearts of the New Zealand people".

Lesley Abravanel Cesar Sayoc's van. Last week, though, court documents indicated that he planned to change his plea.

"I'm truly sorry", he said.

The slew of charges relates to 16 package bombs Sayoc sent from a Florida post office to leading Democrats as well as the Manhattan offices of CNN.

Over several days, investigators tracked the packages to a mail center in Opa-locka. One, addressed to former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, was sent to CNN in NY.

Federal Bureau of Investigation officials alleged Sayoc mailed improvised explosive devices to Obama; Clinton; former Vice President Joe Biden; former Attorney General Eric Holder; U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters; U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris; and major Democratic donors, including George Soros and Tom Steyer - and to CNN's offices in October 2018. His guilty plea does not guarantee a more lenient sentence - but Judge Jed Rakoff stressed he did not have to hand down a life sentence in September.

Sayoc mailed 16 improvised explosive devices to 13 targets around the United States, including 11 current or former US government officials, the U.S attorney's statement says.

"Our democracy will simply not survive if our political discourse includes sending bombs to those we disagree with", said General John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney for the National Security Division, following the hearing.

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