Scott Young, Staff Reporter
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in a press conference that Cesar Sayoc, a man suspected of mailing pipe bombs to several outspoken Democratic figures, has been charged with five federal crimes and is facing up to 58 years in prison. None of the pipe bombs exploded, but FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that the bombs were “not hoax devices.”
“Over the past week, more than a dozen suspicious packages have been sent through the United States Postal Service to a media outlet, a Hollywood actor, and at least seven high ranking current and former political leaders in the Democratic Party,” said Sessions in his press conference. “This is utterly unacceptable. Political violence or the threat of violence is antithetical to our vigorous system of self-government.”
Among those that were mailed pipe bombs include former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, billionaire George Soros, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan, actor Robert De Niro, Senator Cory Booker, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Sayoc has been arrested numerous times in the past in relation to a bomb threat in 2002, grand larceny and other misdemeanor charges. Prior to his arrest, social media posts indicate that he was under a large amount of emotional distress, with tweets containing conspiracy theories and threats toward political figures.
In a tweet written one month before his arrest, he sent a threatening tweet toward former Vice President Joe Biden saying, “Hug your loved son, Niece, wife family real close every time you walk out your home.” In the tweet was a photo of Biden’s home with his family.
Another tweet alleged that Parkland High School student David Hogg, famous for his involvement in the March for Our Lives protests, never attended Parkland High School and “is a paid George Soros actor fraud.”
Sayoc’s van was seized by law enforcement and found to be plastered in pro-Trump stickers. He’s known to be an ardent supporter of President Trump, attending a Trump rally in West Palm Beach, Florida on October 13, 2016. Many have attributed the rhetoric and tone of Trump with the increasing rage in Sayoc which enabled him to commit these violent acts, while others have argued that Sayoc’s violent history well precedes the rising popularity of Trump, citing his 2002 arrest for a bomb threat.
“There’s no blame, there’s no anything,” Trump said. “If you look at what happened to Steve Scalise, that was a supporter of another party,” citing the shooting of a Congressional Baseball Game, where James Hodgkinson, a Bernie Sanders supporter, shot Congressman Steve Scalise and other attendees of the game. Later, Trump condemned the attacks saying, “No nation can succeed that tolerates violence or the threat of violence as a method of political intimidation, coercion, or control.”
Both fingerprint and DNA evidence located on the explosive ordinance and packaging led to the arrest of Sayoc. He is set to be transferred to the state of New York where he will be prosecuted for his charges and represented by a public defender.