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Mail-bomb suspect will be moved to New York for trial, Miami judge agrees

Mail-bomb suspect will be moved to New York for trial, Miami judge agrees This screen grab of a photo posted to his Twitter account shows Ce...

Mail-bomb suspect will be moved to New York for trial, Miami judge agrees

This screen grab of a photo posted to his Twitter account shows Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, at a rally for President Donald Trump. On Friday, a Miami judge agreed to move Sayoc to New York to face charges of mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats. This screen grab of a photo posted to his Twitter account shows Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, at a rally for President Donald Trump. On Friday, a Miami judge agreed to move Sayoc to New York to face charges of mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats.

November 02, 2018 10:49 AM

Cesar Sayoc, the South Florida man accused of sending mail bombs to a long list of Democratic critics of President Donald Trump, will be transferred to New York for a detention hearing and prosecution â€" a decision made Friday as federal authorities tracked down a 16th suspicious package and continued to search for others in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm elections.

A Miami federal judge agreed to allow Sayoc to make a case for his release on bond in New York, where he is expected to be represented by the federal public defender’s office. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York took over the nationally publicized case â€" despite most of the criminal evidence being uncovered in South Florida â€" and that move will inevitably increase the cost of prosecuting Sayoc.

Sayoc will remain in federal custody and be transferred by the U.S. Marshals Service in the coming days. He is charged with a host of crimes, including mailing explosive devices to former President Barack Obama, former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and more than a dozen other prominent Democrats around the country.

The latest package was sent by Sayoc to San Francisco billionaire Thomas Steyer and recovered by the FBI, according to the agency. This marks the second bomb mailed by Sayoc to the hedge fund manager and Democratic fundraiser, the FBI said.

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Sayoc, 56, a former stripper who mainly lived in his van but maintained an official address at his mother’s Aventura condo, was arrested last Friday at an auto store in Plantation. Evidence gathered by the FBI indicates Sayoc sent all of the mail bombs from South Florida, with return addresses to the Sunrise congressional office of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. They were all routed through a postal sorting facility in Opa-locka. None of the explosive devices, mailed to New York, the Washington, D.C., area, Delaware, California and Texas, detonated.

Federal prosecutors have argued against any pretrial release for Sayoc, calling him a danger to the community and a flight risk. On Tuesday, prosecutors filed a new document outlining the “overwhelming” evidence the FBI has gathered since they say he began mailing out the manila envelopes with crude pipe bombs in mid-October. None of that evidence was discussed at Friday’s brief hearing in the Miami federal courtroom.

In the document filed with Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres in Miami, prosecutors said evidence of Sayoc’s “terror campaign is still being collected but is already overwhelming.” Sayoc’s attorneys in Miami called allegations that fingerprint and DNA evidence on recovered packages and bombs match Sayoc’s “flimsy.” They reiterated that defense on Friday when asked about the prosecution’s new filing, which elaborated on a criminal complaint.

“No government document or allegation at this point has confirmed there’s DNA â€" [just] possible,” attorney Jamie Benjamin told reporters outside the federal courthouse after Friday’s brief hearing. “Well, that’s a word that doesn’t make it in the court of law. They have to come up with evidence. They talk about possible evidence without confirmation. Yeah, the word ‘flimsy’ absolutely still applies to the conclusory information there and the speculation of possible DNA.”

Prosecutors highlighted that Sayoc started planning the postal attacks months ago, in July, based on FBI searches of his laptop, cellphone and other devices found in his van, according to the new federal court filing.

FBI agents have seized multiple electronic devices from Sayoc’s van, a vehicle that doubled as his home and was impounded when he was arrested last Friday. His laptop showed Sayoc began doing searches in late July of numerous prominent Democratic figures, such as former President Obama and former Secretary of State Clinton, according to the FBI.

Some of Cesar Sayoc’s many mugshots

Sayoc, a strident Trump supporter whose van was plastered with screeds against the president’s foes, also kept a list of potential targets that far exceeded the 16 politicians and others who were mailed manila envelopes containing the pipe bombs in October, New York federal prosecutors said in the court filing. Sayoc’s list, found on his laptop, included names and home addresses of more than 100 potential Democratic targets, law enforcement sources told the Miami Herald. The list also included prominent news media targets who cover politics, the sources said.

It was reported by Texas news media this week that Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Texas, was threatened by Sayoc in Facebook messages starting in April. Also, O’Rourke’s campaign and the office of Democratic state Rep. Alfonso “Poncho” Nevarez confirmed they were contacted by FBI agents who warned them that Sayoc had looked up their home addresses to send possible bomb-filled packages to them, according to the news accounts.

“The FBI is warning each individual who appears ... to have been identified by the defendant as a potential target, and will continue to do so if additional names are identified in other evidence,” the prosecutors’ court filing in Miami federal court said.

Prosecutors also disclosed new forensic evidence that they say links Sayoc’s latent fingerprints to two manila envelopes â€" not one, as previously noted in the criminal complaint. The filing also states there is DNA evidence from 10 of the mail bombs â€" not two, as previously cited in the complaint. Investigators believe all of the packages were mailed by Sayoc from South Florida.

To further make their case for Sayoc’s detention, prosecutors described the former male stripper as a dangerous criminal who was once charged in Miami-Dade County in 2002 with threatening to “blow up” Florida Power & Light over an unpaid electric bill in an attack that “would be worse than” the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Sayoc received a probationary sentence for that bomb-threat charge, records show.


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Back to story Source: Google News | Netizen 24 United States

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