Cesar Sayoc (pictured) pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court on Thursday to sending pipe bombs to prominent critics of President Donald
The Florida man who authorities say sent pipe bombs to prominent critics of Donald Trump wept in court as he pleaded guilty to 65 federal charges Thursday afternoon.
Cesar Sayoc, 56, has sentencing guidelines ranging from life imprisonment to 120 months, according to Courthouse News reporter Adam Klasfield, who attended the hearing in Manhattan’s federal court.
Sayoc’s plea will avert a trial scheduled for July. Sentencing has been set for September 12.
The change-of-plea hearing was revealed last week after a phone conference between prosecutors, Sayoc’s lawyers and a judge.
Authorities say the 56-year-old Trump mega fan targeted numerous Democrats, including former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the billionaire George Soros, former President Barack Obama and CNN, heightening tensions before midterm elections.
Others targeted by the mailings included former Vice President Joe Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Packages were also mailed to CNN in New York and Atlanta.
No bombs exploded.
Sayoc has been held without bail since his late-October arrest outside a South Florida auto parts store.
Cops found Sayoc had been living in a van covered with stickers of Trump and showing images Trump opponents with crosshairs over their faces.
Cesar Sayoc, 57, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan federal court. He spoke in a halting, shaky voice that often dropped to a whisper. He admitted to sending 16 devices ‘designed to look like pipe bombs’ consisting of a plastic pipe filled with power from fireworks and fertilizer, a digital clock and wires
Prosecutors say evidence against Sayoc included DNA linking him to 10 of the explosive devices and fingerprints on two of them.
Without a plea deal, Sayoc – who has been locked up since October 26 – faced charges carrying a potential penalty of life in prison.
Authorities say the former stripper sent 14 mail bombs to former Secretary of State Clinton, De Niro and Soros, as well as to the CNN headquarters in New York.
All his targets had been critical of Trump.
In the indictment, prosecutors noted that an improvised explosive mailed to Clinton in Chappaqua, New York, contained a picture of her and members of her family marked with a red ‘X’.
The indictment said others targeted by the mailings received similarly marked pictures of themselves along with the explosives.
The charges said he aimed to ‘kill, injure and intimidate an individual and unlawfully to damage and destroy a building, vehicle, and other real and person property.’
Cesar Sayoc’s van is seen in Boca Raton, Florida, covered in Donald Trump stickers
A package addressed to former CIA head John Brennan and an explosive device that was sent to CNN’s New York office in October 2018
Prosecutors said in court papers the explosives were packed with glass intended to ‘maximize harm to the defendant’s victims’.
The former male stripper and part-time pizza delivery man was arrested in Florida last October.
New York-born Sayoc is accused of sending bubble-wrapped manila envelopes to other elite Democrats such as Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
The packages were intercepted from Delaware to California. At least some listed a return address of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Wasserman Schultz represents the Florida district where Sayoc, a former strip club DJ, lived.
Former stripper Sayoc was set to go to trial in July on charges that he sent 16 improvised explosive devices through the U.S. mail to victims across the country