Cesar Sayoc charged with sending package bombs to leading liberals, could face life in prison

Posted at 5:44 PM, Nov 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-09 18:44:44-05

By Jonathan Raymond

(RNN) – Cesar Sayoc could face life in prison for sending package bombs to leading Democratic politicians and critics of President Trump after he was charged with 30 criminal counts on Friday.

Sayoc put liberal institutions on edge late last month when the packages, containing rudimentary improvised explosive devices, were sent to the addresses of people like former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The 56-year-old also targeted high-profile figures like the liberal donor George Soros and the actor Robert De Niro, as well as CNN.

A nationwide manhunt led to his arrest on Oct. 26.

Most of the bombs were intercepted by mail-sorting security before ever reaching their targets, and none ever exploded.

In a release, the Department of Justice said Sayoc was being charged for “his alleged execution of a domestic terrorist attack” that had targeted 13 different potential victims with 16 IEDs.

“Sayoc’s alleged conduct put numerous lives at risk. It was also an assault on a nation that values the rule of law, a free press, and tolerance of differences without rancor or resort to violence," said Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The government said that an FBI analysis revealed that fingerprints on two of the packages were identified as Sayoc’s, and that there were “possible DNA associations” between Sayoc and DNA linked to 10 of the IEDs.

The most serious charges for Sayoc are five counts of “using and carrying a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence." One conviction on those counts carries a minimum of 30 years in prison, and conviction on more than one of the counts carries a minimum of life.

Sayoc sparked a frenzied search in late October after sending out the packages, which he labeled with the return address of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In all, the explosives were mailed to Obama, the Clintons, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, George Soros, Tom Steyer, Robert De Niro, and CNN.

Law enforcement tracked him down within five days.

It emerged that Sayoc had an extensive history of conspiratorial politics and posting about threats to social media.

“Go Trump Trump Trump hey Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. And Eric Himpton Holder Sr. Stick your BS all crap you talk where sun doesn’t shine. We will meet your threats right to your face soon. Not option we will see you soon. Hug loved ones real close we aren’t ones," he wrote in a September tweet.

In early October he threatened Democratic strategist Rochelle Ritchie on Twitter, telling her to “hug your loved ones real close every time you leave your home." She reported the threat to Twitter, and in a response, the company told her it “found that there was no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behavior.”

A former bodybuilder and male dancer who had been arrested at least nine times and was kicked out of his mother’s house, he was seen on video attending at least one Trump rally, where he had a “CNN Sucks” poster, and the white van he was living in was covered with right-wing bumper stickers and memes.

The assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Office, William Sweeney Jr., said in Friday’s release that Sayoc had conducted a “campaign of terror.”

Berman, the U.S. attorney, said he “now faces justice from a nation of laws.”

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