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Cesar Sayoc in court: Pipe bomb suspect allegedly 'had list of people in hundreds' to send packages to as another intercepted in Atlanta

Mr Sayoc has been accused of mailing 14 pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of the president

Clark Mindock
New York
,Sarah Harvard
Monday 29 October 2018 21:45 GMT
Suspicious packages found near Clinton and Obama homes

Shackled and wearing a beige jumpsuit, the man accused of sending at least 14 pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of the president has been formally charged with five federal crimes in a Miami courtroom.

The first court appearance of Cesar Sayoc, 56, came just hours after a 15th suspicious package was intercepted in Atlanta on its way to the CNN headquarters - what may have been the last in a series the suspect was able to mail from a list of, reportedly, hundreds of potential targets.

In response to that package, CNN president Jeff Zucker said all domestic mail had been screened at off-site locations since last week, when it received two other packages addressed to the network's contributors, and bomb squads were called in to the Atlanta post office where the package was detected.

Mr Sayoc had salt and pepper hair pulled back into a ponytail during his appearance, and remained mostly silent during his appearance. His three lawyers attempted to stand in a manner that obscured the view of news reporters and photographers from their client.

During the hearing — where Mr Sayoc was read the charges against him, his rights, and informed that he would be held without bail — the former male stripper and part time pizza delivery man, reacted audibly only when the charges were read by Judge Edwin Torres.

He also reportedly had tears in his eyes during the hearing, where he was read the following charges: interstate transportation and illegal mailing of explosives, threatening a former president, making threatening interstate communications and assaulting federal officers.

Authorities arrested Mr Sayoc on Friday after a frantic search for the man who they say mailed at least 14 pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of Donald Trump. Packages were addressed to individuals including former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, billionaire donor George Soros, Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and California Representative Maxine Waters.

The tension created by the mailed pipe bombs was further ratcheted up over the weekend, after a gunman opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Eleven worshippers were killed during that attack, and the gunman yelled “All Jews must die”.

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The pipe bombs also came roughly two weeks before the US midterm elections, which are widely seen as a referendum on Mr Trump’s first two years in office.

The president, sensing that the pipe bombs were distracting voters from political matters, tweeted those concerns — suggesting that the various attempted attacks on top American politicians could cost Republicans at the polls next month.

To follow how the day unfolded, see our live coverage below - please allow a moment for it to load


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Cesar Sayoc's first court appearance.

He is expected in court at 2pm local time in New York.

Clark Mindock29 October 2018 14:26

CNN, which received some of the packages mailed last week containing pipe bombs, reports that they have received another suspicious package in the mail.

The newest package was received in Atlanta, while the previous packages were delivered to New York.

If the package contains a pipe bomb, that would bring the total number of bombs delivered last week and this week to 15. It is unclear who may have sent the suspicious package that was received on Monday, or if it contains an explosive.

Clark Mindock29 October 2018 14:28

As we await Mr Sayoc's first court appearance, it is worth a quick recap on who he is.

Just hours before he was arrested by federal authorities, he was working as a DJ at a strip club in Southern Florida. He had worked at the club for about two months — and he had previously worked as a male dancer.

He also has had run-ins with law enforcement. In 2002, Mr Sayoc was arrested by Miami police for threatening to bomb a power company, an attack that he said would be "worse than September 11th".

Clark Mindock29 October 2018 14:52

Last week when he was arrested, Mr Sayoc's van was also taken into police custody.

Images of the van before it was covered with a blue tarp and hauled off provide an insight into Mr Sayoc's political affiliations. The van was covered in pro-Republican and pro-Trump stickers, including photos of Mr Trump.

Stickers also suggested a more sinister side of Mr Sayoc, with images of prominent Democrats and Trump critics featured with gun targets around them.

Images of the van stirred a bit of media controversy, here is our report on that issue:

Clark Mindock29 October 2018 15:07

A review of Mr Sayoc's social media accounts reveals that the alleged bomber had frequently spoken out against Democrats, and that he is a fan of the president's.

Videos show that he attended at least one Trump rally, and wore a "Make America Great Again" hat at that event.

Clark Mindock29 October 2018 15:22

The details of how Mr Sayoc was apprehended paint a gripping picture of a hectic week in America, where authorities rushed to find a man sending live explosives to some of the nation's most powerful and prominent politicians.

Here is our report on the piece of evidence that ultimately led to the dramatic arrest at an auto parts store on Friday in south Florida:

Clark Mindock29 October 2018 15:40

  ↵Among the many threads one can follow in this case is that of the failure of social media platforms to take seriously the threats that can so easily be spread online.

Twitter, for its part, has apologised after it was discovered the company was notified by Democratic strategist Rochelle Ritchie that he had sent threatening messages to her online. Ms Ritchie's complaint came two weeks before the bombs began arriving.

Here is a look at that apology and the scandal that surrounds it:


Clark Mindock29 October 2018 16:00

News agencies are reporting that Mr Sayoc allegedly had a list of hundreds of people, and that he was making his way down the list to mail out each device.

This news comes just hours after a suspicious package addressed to CNN in Atlanta was intercepted on its way to those facilities.

Clark Mindock29 October 2018 16:18

While Mr Sayoc was apparently a big fan of the president's, and had threatened Democrats previously, authorities have yet to name a motive behind the attack.

Time will tell if authorities identify any motive beyond general dissatisfaction with Democrats and political enemies of Mr Trump's.

Clark Mindock29 October 2018 16:20

In addition to videos added by Mr Sayoc to his social media accounts, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has released deleted footage of the suspect that he captured while filming for his film Fahrenheit 11/9.

The video shows Mr Sayoc at a re-election rally for Mr Trump.

A photo of Mr Moore was visible on the side of a white van that reportedly belongs to Mr Sayoc. A gun target symbol was superimposed on Mr Moore's image on the van.

Clark Mindock29 October 2018 16:40

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