Florida Mail Bomber Cesar Sayoc Pleads Guilty in New York Court

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Sayoc was arrested October 26 outside an auto-parts store near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"For five days in October 2018, Cesar Sayoc rained terror across the country, sending high-ranking officials and former elected leaders explosive packages through the mail", U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in the statement.

Sayoc was initially expected to appear in court for a pretrial hearing, but it was changed to a plea hearing last week, prosecutors said.

In addition to 16 counts of the use of weapons of mass destruction, Sayoc pleaded guilty to the interstate transport of explosives, the illegal mailing of explosives with the intent to kill or injure and the carrying of explosives during the commission of a felony, among other crimes. His guilty plea does not guarantee a more lenient sentence - but Judge Jed Rakoff stressed he did not have to hand down a life sentence in September.

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The 56-year-old former stripper and pizza delivery driver was arrested October 26 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and charged with five federal crimes.

After Sayoc was arrested, Trump said he "did not see my face on the van" and acknowledged: "I heard he was a person who preferred me over others". Naming recipients of the packages, Sayoc acknowledged that he had created the devices "intended to look like pipe bombs" - using materials that included powder from fireworks - and sent them in the mail.

The episode heightened political tensions in the lead-up to the November 6 United States midterm elections, which saw Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives while Republicans retained control of the Senate.

In the indictment, prosecutors noted that an improvised explosive mailed to Clinton in Chappaqua, New York, contained a picture of her and members of her family marked with a red "X".

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Prosecutors said in court papers the explosives were packed with glass meant to "maximize harm to the defendant's victims".

All of the targets had criticized Trump, who had apparently become the focus of Sayoc's intense admiration.

The packages were intercepted from DE to California.

A native of New York City's Brooklyn borough and a registered Republican, Sayoc railed against Democrats, Muslims and liberals on Facebook and Twitter. Public records showed that he had been arrested multiple times for domestic violence, theft and other charges, including threatening to bomb an electric company over a billing dispute.

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