National News

Trump Supporter Accused of Mailing Bombs Is Indicted in New York

Posted November 9, 2018 7:11 p.m. EST

A Florida man accused of mailing 16 pipe bombs to critics of President Donald Trump was indicted in New York City on Friday on charges that carry a potential sentence of life in prison.

A federal grand jury returned the 30-count indictment against the man, Cesar A. Sayoc Jr., 56, a fervent Trump supporter who was arrested Oct. 26 in Plantation, Florida, and brought to New York this week to face charges.

Authorities have said that Sayoc sent homemade bombs fashioned from PVC pipe and glass shards to prominent Democrats — among them Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama — as well as to CNN and private critics of the president like actor Robert DeNiro. His fingerprints were found on two of the envelopes in which the bombs were mailed and DNA evidence links him to 10 of the devices, the government said.

Sayoc was charged in the indictment in connection with what authorities have called a “domestic terrorist attack” that involved the mailing of the crude pipe bombs to more than a dozen targets around the United States.

Sayoc’s federal defender, Sarah Baumgartel, declined to comment Friday.

Though the bombs were mailed to targets across the country, the indictment charges Sayoc only in connection with five devices sent to victims in Manhattan and Westchester County, New York, which are both part of the Southern District of New York.

Those packages were sent to Clinton; DeNiro; John Brennan, a former CIA director; George Soros, a billionaire Democratic donor; and James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence.

The top counts contained in the indictment, such as use of a weapon of mass destruction, carry a potential maximum life sentence; and if Sayoc were to be convicted on a combination of certain of the counts, he would face a mandatory life term, prosecutors said.

The indictment also charges Sayoc with using a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence; interstate transportation of explosives; unlawful use of the mail; and other counts.

Prosecutors have said Sayoc had planned his terror campaign for at least three months, and The New York Times has reported that he had prepared a list of about 100 potential targets and that the FBI was in the process of alerting people whose names were found on the list.

“Sayoc’s alleged conduct put numerous lives at risk,” Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Friday. “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.”