Mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc pleads guilty

The 56-year-old has been held without bail in NY since his arrest on 26 October, 2018.

Sayoc had been facing 30 charges, including five counts of use of a weapon of mass destruction and five counts of interstate transportation and receipt of explosives.

"I knew these actions were wrong".

"I'm extremely sorry", he said, speaking so softly that sometimes he was told to repeat himself.

"Did you intend they would explode?" Sayoc pleaded guilty to 65 felonies on Thursday in a Manhattan federal court with 16 of those charges of using a weapon of mass destruction.

Sayoc was initially expected to appear in court for a pretrial hearing, but it was changed to a plea hearing last week, prosecutors said. He had previously pleaded not guilty.

Devices were also mailed to CNN offices in NY and Atlanta. "Thankfully no one was hurt by these unsafe devices, but his actions left an air of fear and divisiveness in their wake".

An attorney for Sayoc did not respond to a request for comment.

He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and is set to be sentenced on September 12.

The string of potentially explosive packages caused panic as they were received or intercepted en route to current and former government officials as well as prominent political donors.

Sayoc sent 16 rudimentary bombs - none of which detonated - to targets including Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, several members of Congress, former President Barack Obama and actor Robert De Niro.

A former DJ and bouncer at strip clubs, Sayoc had a criminal history.

Cesar Sayoc is seen in a booking photo from 2015 released by the Broward County Sheriff's Office and obtained by CNN. The pro-Trump stickers that covered the nearby van condemned liberals and the media; one contained an image of Clinton under red cross hairs.

Trump and his allies have repeatedly pushed back against the idea that his incendiary rhetoric could be linked to extremist violence, including most recently in the wake of the New Zealand mosque attacks.

His trial had been scheduled for July. Authorities also continued to recover more devices after Sayoc was arrested.

Over several days, investigators tracked the packages to a mail center in Opa-locka.

CNN's NY bureau was evacuated in October after the discovery of a package with an explosive device addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, officials said. Packages were soon found in Florida, Delaware and California.

Sayoc mailed 16 improvised explosive devices to 13 targets around the United States, including 11 current or former USA government officials, the U.S attorney's statement says.

No one was physically injured by the homemade pipe bombs, though Federal Bureau of Investigation officials said each device consisted of roughly six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, wiring, and "energetic material" capable of exploding if exposed to heat, shock or friction.

  • Joey Payne