Advertisement

Florida man held in pipe bomb mailings to Trump critics is expected to plead guilty

Florida man held in pipe bomb mailings to Trump critics is expected to plead guilty
Cesar Sayoc, shown raising his hand in this courtroom artist's rendering, is charged with sending pipe bombs to prominent critics of President Trump. He is expected to plead guilty at a hearing in New York on Thursday, March 21. (Elizabeth Williams / AP)

A Florida man charged with sending pipe bombs to prominent critics of President Trump is expected to plead guilty next week.

A notice entered in the case file of Cesar Sayoc in federal court in Manhattan shows a plea hearing has been scheduled for Thursday.

Advertisement

Without a plea deal, Sayoc, 56, faced charges carrying a potential penalty of mandatory life in prison. It was not known which charge or charges the plea would involve.

Sayoc was set to go to trial in July on charges that he sent 16 improvised explosive devices through the U.S. mail to victims across the country. None exploded.

Authorities say he targeted numerous Democrats, CNN and critics of Trump, heightening tensions before the midterm elections.

The charges said he aimed to “kill, injure and intimidate an individual and unlawfully ... damage and destroy a building, vehicle, and other real and personal property.”

Comment was requested Friday in an email to defense lawyers and a call to prosecutors.

The New York-born Sayoc has been held without bail since his late October arrest outside a South Florida auto parts store. He had been living in a van covered with pro-Trump stickers and showing images of some Trump opponents with crosshairs over their faces.

In the indictment, prosecutors noted that an improvised explosive mailed to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, N.Y., contained a picture of her and members of her family marked with a red “X.”

The indictment said others targeted by the mailings received similarly marked pictures of themselves along with the explosives.

Others targeted by the mailings include former President Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Packages were also mailed to CNN in New York and Atlanta.

Prosecutors say evidence against Sayoc includes DNA linking him to 10 of the explosive devices and fingerprints on two of them.

Advertisement
Advertisement