Man charged with sending bombs to Trump critics pleads guilty

Politics

Cesar Altieri Sayoc appears in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. in this August 31, 2005 handout booking photo obtained by Reuters October 26, 2018. Hennepin County SheriffÕs Office/Handout via REUTERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Florida man pleaded guilty on Thursday to criminal charges in connection with the mailing of bombs to prominent Democrats and other critics of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Cesar Sayoc, 57, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan federal court.

Among the charges were using a weapon of mass destruction, mailing explosives with an intent to kill or injure, and transporting explosives across state lines.

Sayoc, a part-time pizza deliveryman, grocery worker and former stripper, was arrested in October after a four-day manhunt.

At the time, Sayoc had been living in a white van plastered with pro-Trump stickers, the slogan “CNN SUCKS” and images of Democratic leaders with red cross-hairs over their faces.

Prosecutors accused Sayoc of mailing bombs through the U.S. Postal Service to Democrats such as former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.

Other targets included actor Robert De Niro and former Central Intelligence Agency directors John Brennan and James Clapper, who have criticized Trump, and Democratic donors George Soros and Tom Steyer, prosecutors said. Trump is a Republican.

The bombs were sent in manila envelopes lined with bubble wrap and consisted of plastic 6-inch pipes packed with explosive material and wired to small clocks and batteries, according to prosecutors. All were intercepted before reaching their intended targets, and none exploded.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Susan Thomas

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