Mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc pleads guilty
Cesar Sayoc, Jr., of Aventura, Fla., pleaded guilty to 65 felony counts, including using weapons of mass destruction in an attempted domestic terrorist attack, for sending 16 explosive devices to prominent Democrats in October. Photo courtesy Broward County Sheriff’s Office
Sayoc, the 57-year-old Florida man, pleaded guilty to to 65 felony counts, including using weapons of mass destruction in an attempted domestic terrorist attack, for sending 16 explosive devices to people including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as CNN’s offices in October.
“I sent all 16 devices with the intent to threaten or intimidate,” Sayoc told the court. “I know these actions were wrong.”
He initially pleaded not guilty to 30 charges that included interstate transport of explosives and mailing explosives, before entering the guilty plea on Thursday.
Sayoc faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and is set to be sentenced on September 12.
“Cesar Sayoc has admitted to acts of domestic terrorism that 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,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said, according to NBC News. “Our democracy will simply not survive if our political discourse includes sending bombs to those we disagree with.”
Sayoc told the court he intended for the devices to look like pipe bombs, but not to detonate, despite packing them with fertilizer and powder from fireworks.
When pressed by U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff however, Sayoc didn’t state how he would prevent them from exploding.
“Sir, I was aware of the risk that it would explode,” Sayoc stated.