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Cesar Sayoc: What to know about the suspect in the mail bombs case

Cesar Sayoc faces a sentence of life in prison if he's convicted.

Cesar Sayoc was arrested on Oct. 26 in

Cesar Sayoc was arrested on Oct. 26 in connection with the bomb packages mailed to more than a dozen critics of President Donald Trump, officials said. Right, an officer examines Sayoc's van before it was removed. Photo Credit: Composite: Broward County Sheriff / WPLG via AFP

Cesar Altieri Sayoc, the New York native arrested in connection with at least 15 bombs sent to prominent critics of President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty to 30 charges in a federal court in New York City on Thursday.

Judge Jed Rakoff set Sayoc's trial date for July 15. Prosecutors said the trial will likely take three weeks and will include expert testimony on forensics, explosive devices and the chemistry of the explosives in those devices.

Sayoc, who is being held without bail, faces a sentence of life in prison if he's convicted. 

Prosecutors had argued in a previous court filing that Sayoc “intended to maximize harm” on his targets. Investigators believe he began planning the attempted attacks in July.

“It is clear that many of the devices contained energetic material with explosive qualities, and several of the devices also contained shards of glass that could only have been intended to maximize harm to the defendant’s victims,” prosecutors wrote in a letter to the judge.

Sayoc, a 56-year-old former stripper and part-time pizza deliveryman, is accused of sending at least 15 explosive devices in manila envelopes to prominent Democrats and critics of Trump. Thirteen of the packages were listed in the initial criminal complaint against Sayoc. The 14th device, sent to Democratic donor Tom Steyer, was discovered around the same time Sayoc was taken into custody. On Oct. 29, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said a 15th package, addressed to the network, was intercepted at a postal center in Atlanta.

None of the bombs exploded and no injuries were reported.

Read on to learn more about Sayoc.

Sayoc is from New York

Records show he was born in Brooklyn and previously lived in Edison, New Jersey. Sayoc was listed at an address in Bergen Beach in July of 1987, per records. Sayoc's grandmother was from Sheepshead Bay, according to an obituary published in the Fort Lauderdale Sentinel.

He was living in his van

Sayoc's last known address was in Aventura, Florida, but prosecutors said he had been living out of his white van, which was seized after his arrest in Plantation, Florida, on Friday. The van was covered in pro-Trump stickers as well as stickers of some of the targets with red crosshairs, prosecutors said. 

Authorities found a fingerprint on two IEDs

Federal authorities were able to lift Sayoc's fingerprints off an IED, and its packaging, that was sent to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) as well as an IED that was sent to former President Barack Obama, according to the criminal complaint.

"Once I knew they had a print, I was pretty confident we would be able to find the right person," FBI Director Christopher Wray said at the news conference on Friday.

Possible DNA connection

Sayoc's DNA, on file from a previous arrest, may be connected to DNA found on two different explosive devices that were mailed to separate locations, Wray said.

Internet searches

Sayoc researched the targets of the bombs on his personal laptop and cellphone, prosecutors said in a court filing on Oct. 30. The searches included “cnn building,” “hilary clinton and family,” “james clapper wife and kids,” “address Debbie wauserman Shultz” and “address for barack Obama.”

Registered Republican

Sayoc registered as Republican in Florida in March 2016, according to voter registration records in the state.

Lengthy criminal history

Sayoc has been arrested several times, including a 2002 Florida case in which he was accused of threatening to use a bomb. His extensive criminal past also includes arrests for grand theft, petty theft, possession of stolen property, fraudulent refunds, criminal possession of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence.

Anti-Democrat rhetoric on social media

Sayoc's Twitter account is filled with posts critical of Democrats, including several of the people who were targeted by the packaged bombs, per the criminal complaint. 

A bankruptcy filing

In 2012, Sayoc filed for bankruptcy in Miami, per court records. The only assets he listed were $4,174, including his 2001 Chevy Tahoe, records show. A handwritten note on the petition said he "lives w/ mom." An inquiry to the offices of Christian J. Olson, Sayoc's lawyer on the petition, was met with a "no comment." 

With Reuters and Newsday


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