Court Appearances Set for Bomb Suspect

Photo of Court Appearances Set for Bomb Suspect
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The man arrested and charged with mailing at least 13 packages containing explosive devices to critics of President Donald Trump is expected to make his first court appearance Monday, according to several media reports citing law enforcement officials. The Associated Press cited a law enforcement official who said Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Fla., would make an initial court appearance in Florida before facing charges in federal court in New York, where five of the devices were recovered. The official was not authorized to discuss the prosecution and therefore spoke on condition of anonymity. Sayoc, a man with a decades-long criminal record, faces five charges in connection with the mail bomb campaign, including the illegal mailing of explosive devices and threatening government officials. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters Friday that Sayoc faced up to 48 years in prison if found guilty. The crude pipe bombs were addressed in recent days to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. attorney general, two Democratic members of Congress, and former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan. FBI Director Christopher Wray, speaking at the same news conference as Sessions, said 13 IEDs were sent in the packages, and each mailing included 6 inches of PVC pipe, a small clock and potentially explosive material. "These are not hoax devices," Wray said, noting that none of the bombs exploded. Authorities told AP that the devices were not rigged to explode when the packages were opened, but they said they were not sure whether that was because the devices were poorly made or were not intended to harm. Wray added that authorities thought other bombs might still be found. Wray said a fingerprint found on one of the packages led investigators to Sayoc. He said possible DNA evidence was found on another package. Sayoc was previously known to law enforcement officials and has been arrested nearly a dozen times in Florida, including a 2002 arrest for making a bomb threat. His first arrest in the state was at age 29 for larceny. Other charges against him have included grand theft, fraud and illegal possession of steroids. Sayoc's arrest Friday in Plantation, Fla., about 30 miles north of Miami, ended a nearly weeklong stretch of terror in which at least one bomb was found each day. Van takenOfficers also hauled away Sayoc's white van — its windows plastered with pro-Trump stickers, American flags and images of Democratic figures with red cross hairs over their faces. His arrest came just hours after the FBI intercepted two suspicious packages, one addressed to Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, the other to former National Intelligence Director James Clapper. And even as Sayoc was being detained, officials with Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California said investigators were looking at a package sent to her office. Clapper said Friday on CNN that he was not surprised he was targeted and that the incidents were "serious." Trump, speaking at a White House event Friday, vowed that those responsible for mailing suspicious packages would be prosecuted to the "fullest extent of the law." "We must never allow political violence to take root in America," Trump told the Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House. Later Friday, Trump told a political rally in Charlotte, N.C., that the media were to blame for polarizing the country. "We have seen an effort by the media in recent hours to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party." He said the media's "constant unfair coverage, deep hostility and negative attacks" only served to "drive people apart." In a tweet earlier Friday, Trump referred to the investigation as "this ‘bomb' stuff," which he blamed for taking focus away from the upcoming midterm elections.

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