Man Cries And Pleads Guilty To Sending Pipe Bombs To Trump Critics
Cesar Sayoc, 57, sobbed as he entered the plea before a federal judge in New York.
Sayoc pleaded guilty on Thursday to sending pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of Donald Trump in a wave of attacks -- where no one was injured -- but spread fear across the US for days leading up to last year's midterm elections.
The bombs began turning up weeks before the hotly contested midterms, contributing to an already tense political environment.
He pleaded guilty to all 65 criminal counts related to the illegal mailing of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including a charge for the use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
A tearful Sayoc, 57, said ‘I’m extremely sorry’ to judge during court.
He then detailed how he constructed the pipe bombs by filling plastic pipes with firework powder and attached a digital alarm clock with wires.
He also showed pictures of the recipients in the packages with red Xs marked across their faces.
Authorities say he targeted numerous Democrats, including former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the billionaire George Soros, former President Obama, and the actor Robert De Niro.
Devices were also mailed to CNN offices in New York and Atlanta, heightening tensions before midterm elections.
He had been living in a van covered with stickers of Trump and showing images of some of Trump's opponents with crosshairs over their faces.
Prosecutors said evidence against Sayoc includes DNA linking him to 10 of the explosive devices and fingerprints on two of them.
Sayoc was arrested in late October at a Florida auto parts store. On Thursday, he told the judge that he made objects designed to look like pipe bombs and filled them with explosive powder from fireworks.
“Did you intend they would explode?” the US district judge Jed Rakoff asked.
“No, sir,” Sayoc said.
“What would prevent powder from fireworks from exploding?” Rakoff asked.
“I was aware of the risk they would explode,” Sayoc said.
He faces life in prison and will be sentenced in September.
With CBS and AAP