sunny.png
Sunday August 18th, 2019 1:18PM

Florida man pleads guilty to mailing bombs to Trump foes

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to sending pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Donald Trump in a wave of attacks that harmed no one but spread fear of political violence across the U.S. for days leading up to last fall's midterm elections.

Cesar Sayoc, 57, shackled at the ankles, briefly sobbed as he entered the plea before a New York federal judge.

"I'm extremely sorry," he said, speaking so softly that sometimes he was told to repeat himself. Though he said he never meant for the devices to explode, he conceded he knew they could.

He could get life in prison at sentencing Sept. 12 on 65 counts, including 16 counts of using a weapon of mass destruction and mailing explosives with intent to kill. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a charge that carried a mandatory life sentence.

One charge carries a mandatory 10-year prison term that must be served in addition to his sentence on 64 other counts.

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. Devices were also mailed to CNN offices in New York and Atlanta.

The bombs began turning up over a five-day stretch weeks before the hotly contested midterms, contributing to an already tense political environment. They were mailed to addresses in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, California, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia.

Sayoc was arrested in late October at a Florida auto parts store. He had been living in a van plastered with Trump stickers and images of Trump opponents with crosshairs over their faces.

On Thursday, he told the judge he made objects designed to look like pipe bombs and filled them with explosive powder from fireworks, fertilizer and glass shards, accompanied by wires and a digital alarm clock.

"Did you intend they would explode?" Judge Jed Rakoff asked.

"No, sir," Sayoc said.

"What would prevent powder from fireworks from exploding?" Rakoff asked.

"I was aware of the risk they would explode," Sayoc said.

The first bomb was discovered Oct. 22 in a padded envelope in a mailbox at an estate in New York City's northern suburbs owned by the billionaire George Soros, a liberal political activist and frequent subject of conspiracy theories.

A device addressed to the home of Hillary and Bill Clinton was discovered the following day, followed a day later by a slew of bombs found at the homes or offices of prominent Democrats. One, addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, was sent to CNN in New York.

Others targeted included California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Rep. Maxine Waters, former Attorney General Eric Holder and billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer.

Over several days, investigators tracked the packages to a mail center in Florida. Prosecutors said the evidence against Sayoc included DNA that linked him to 10 of the devices and fingerprints on two of them.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, who attended the plea proceeding, said in a statement afterward that he was grateful nobody was hurt by the devices, but added that Sayoc's "actions left an air of fear and divisiveness in their wake."

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers added: "Our democracy will simply not survive if our political discourse includes sending bombs to those we disagree with."

He said Sayoc's crimes "are repulsive to all Americans who cherish a society built on respectful and non-violent political discourse, no matter how strongly held one's views."

___

This story has been corrected to fix the wording of the first quote from the defendant.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tribes push to protect sacred New Mexico site from drilling
Native American leaders are banding together to pressure U.S. officials to ban oil and gas exploration around a sacred tribal site that features massive stone structures and other remnants of an ancient civilization
4:52PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Florida man pleads guilty to mailing bombs to Trump foes
A Florida man has pleaded guilty to sending a wave of pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Donald Trump
4:50PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Residents fret about chemical plant fire, despite assurances
Officials have lifted an order to remain indoors after several readings showed that the air quality had improved near a scorched petrochemical storage facility in suburban Houston
4:31PM ( 35 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Court hearing delayed for Loughlin, husband in college scam
Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston next month in a college admissions bribery case
4:56PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Kabengele, Mann lead 4th-seed FSU over hot-shooting Vermont
Mfiondu Kabengele had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Florida State held off a barrage of 3-pointers from 13th-seeded Vermont in a 76-69 victory in the opening round of the NCAA West Regional
4:53PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Judge blocks laws limiting powers of Wisconsin governor
A judge has temporarily blocked Wisconsin Republicans' contentious lame-duck laws limiting the powers of new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who immediately used his restored authority to pull the state out of a multistate challenge to the Affordable Care Act
4:43PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Bannon predicts 'stunning victory' for European populists
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon is predicting a "stunning victory" for populists and nationalists in the European Parliament elections in two months but says they can do it without his help
4:13PM ( 53 minutes ago )
Number of states using redistricting commissions growing
As the effects of gerrymandering come under greater scrutiny, more states are taking redistricting duties away from state lawmakers and governors as a way to make the process less partisan
3:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Bombproof bunker deployed for Brexit planning
Britain's armed forces have set up a command post in a bombproof bunker beneath the building that houses U.K. Ministry of Defense to coordinate plans for the military's role in a possible no-deal Brexit
3:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
You dumped cable? Comcast hopes to reel you back in
Comcast is launching an aggregated bundle of existing streaming-TV apps for $5 a month
2:25PM ( 2 hours ago )
Candy Crush vs. Mortal Kombat for Video Game Hall of Fame
Twelve more video games have a shot at joining favorites like "John Madden Football" and "Pac-Man" in the World Video Game Hall of Fame
2:16PM ( 2 hours ago )
New exhibit of items from Tutankhamun's tomb comes to Paris
A new exhibit of artifacts from the tomb of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun is opening in Paris more than 50 years after a similar exhibit set a visitor attendance record that still stands in the French capital
1:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
K-pop star Jung Joon-young arrested in sex video scandal
South Korean police have arrested K-pop singer Jung Joon-young over allegations that he illegally shared sexually explicit videos of women taken without their knowledge or consent
8:29AM ( 8 hours ago )
Dubai finds itself entangled in case against R. Kelly
Dubai finds itself entangled in sex abuse case against American R&B singer R. Kelly
7:30AM ( 9 hours ago )
Court reviews arrest request on K-pop singer Jung Joon-young
K-pop singer Jung Joon-young is attending a South Korean court hearing on whether a warrant will be issued for his arrest on allegations he illegally shared sexually explicit videos of women without their knowledge or consent
12:29AM ( 16 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Tribes push to protect sacred New Mexico site from drilling
Native American leaders are banding together to pressure U.S. officials to ban oil and gas exploration around a sacred tribal site that features massive stone structures and other remnants of an ancient civilization
4:52PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Residents fret about chemical plant fire, despite assurances
Officials have lifted an order to remain indoors after several readings showed that the air quality had improved near a scorched petrochemical storage facility in suburban Houston
4:31PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Ex-cop says thought gun was pointed at him when he shot teen
A white former police officer charged with killing an unarmed black teenager outside Pittsburgh says he plans to take the stand in his own defense
4:25PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Atlanta's Mayor pushes for review in 'Child Murders' cases
Atlanta's mayor and chief of police are leading a push to re-examine evidence from a string of murders from 1979 to 1981 that terrorized the city's black community
3:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
Movement toward less partisan political maps gains momentum
In recent years, an increasing number of states have adopted less partisan methods for drawing congressional or state legislative political districts
3:40PM ( 1 hour ago )