The Slatest

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Pipe Bombs to Prominent Trump Critics, Including Obama and Hillary

FBI agents attempt to cover the alleged mail bomber’s van.
FBI agents attempt to cover the alleged mail bomber’s van after his arrest in October.
WPLG-TV via AP

The man charged with sending more than a dozen pipe bombs through the mail to high-profile Trump critics last fall, igniting a national panic, pleaded guilty in a federal court Thursday. Officials said Cesar Sayoc, who had been living out of a van in Florida, sent a total of 16 improvised explosive devices to 13 people in October, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, setting off a public frenzy in response to what federal officials characterized a “domestic terror attack.”

The 57-year-old entered the guilty plea after pleading not guilty initially, averting a trial that was set to begin this summer. Sayoc apologized in court for sending the explosive packages that included powder from fireworks and glass. He told the court he did not intend for the bombs to detonate but knew there was a possibility they could. “I know that these actions were wrong and I am extremely sorry,” he said. None of the bombs went off or even reached their intended recipients, which included the CNN newsroom, billionaire activist George Soros, and actor Robert De Niro as well as now–Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

Authorities quickly tracked Sayoc down and arrested him in South Florida last year, where he had been living in a van plastered with stickers of President Donald Trump and threatening images of Trump opponents, including some of those he sent explosive packages to. Sayoc, who has been held since his arrest, is facing life in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 12.