Mail Bomb Suspect Enters Plea, Sobs

Cesar Sayoc pleads guilty
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 21, 2019 4:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to sending pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Trump in a wave of attacks that harmed no one but spread fear of political violence across the US for days leading up to last fall's midterm elections. Cesar Sayoc, 57, sobbed as he entered the plea before a federal judge in New York, the AP reports. "I'm extremely sorry," he said, adding that he never intended for the devices to explode. He could get life in prison at sentencing Sept. 12 on 65 counts, including using weapons 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.

Sayoc was accused of sending rudimentary bombs—none of which detonated—to 16 targets, including Bill and 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 weeks before the hotly contested midterms, contributing to an already tense political environment. 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 that he made objects designed to look like pipe bombs and filled them with explosive powder from fireworks.

(Read more Cesar Sayoc stories.)

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