Published: Sun, March 24, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Florida resident pleads guilty to mailing explosives to Donald Trump

Florida resident pleads guilty to mailing explosives to Donald Trump

A Filipino-American pleaded guilty on Thursday to criminal charges in connection with the mailing of bombs to prominent Democrats and other critics of US President Donald Trump. On Thursday, he reversed that plea before US Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan.

He had been scheduled to go on trial this summer on charges that he mailed explosives to 16 targets, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, the billionaire George Soros, several members of congress and the actor Robert De Niro.

The bombs began turning up weeks before the hotly contested midterm elections, contributing to an already tense political environment.

Sayoc had been held without bail since his late-October arrest in Florida.

Sayoc, who lived in a white truck plastered with pro-Trump and anti-Democrat stickers, was arrested in Florida five days after the first device was discovered in Soros's upstate NY mailbox. "Thankfully no one was hurt by these unsafe devices, but his actions left an air of fear and divisiveness in their wake".

Each device, Sayoc said, consisted of a plastic pipe with a digital alarm clock and attached wires.

Cesar Sayoc is seen in a booking photo from 2015 released by the Broward County Sheriff's Office and obtained by CNN.

'I know that these actions were wrong and I am extremely sorry, ' he finally said.

Sayoc was initially expected to appear in court for a pretrial hearing, but it was changed to a plea hearing last week, prosecutors said.

"What would prevent, for example, powder from fireworks from exploding?" the judge asked.

The hunt for the bomber began October 22 when a device was discovered 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.

Over several days, investigators tracked the packages to a mail center in Opa-locka.

Prosecutors say evidence against Sayoc included DNA linking him to 10 of the explosive devices and fingerprints on two of them. Sayoc is also accused of sending bombs to actor Robert De Niro and to CNN's NY office - which prompted an evacuation of the Time Warner building.

Cesar Sayoc, 57, admitted in court to having mailed 16 explosive devices to a variety of officials - primarily Democrats, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. "Our democracy will simply not survive if our political discourse includes sending bombs to those we disagree with".

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