Terror-By-Mail Case Moves From Florida To New York
MIAMI, FL — Suspected mail bomber Cesar Sayoc of Aventura has agreed to be transferred from Florida to New York to face charges in the terror-by-mail plot in which he allegedly mailed explosive devices to former president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN and other prominent critics of President Trump.
Attorneys for the 56-year-old told U.S. District Judge Edwin Torres Friday that Sayoc would not seek his release on bail for the time being, according to the Associated Press. It was unclear when the transfer will take place by the U.S. Marshals Service.
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“We felt it more appropriate for the lawyers that are going to represent him in the long run to make the analysis and determination and decide what they want to do for the best interest of Mr. Sayoc,” explained Jamie Benjamin, one of several attorneys representing Sayoc on Friday.
On Monday, Sayoc became teary-eyed when he spotted his estranged sister, Tina, in a packed Miami courtroom as he made his first court appearance since being swarmed by federal agents at a Florida auto parts store a week ago.
Defense attorney Daniel Arronson, who is also representing Sayoc, told reporters that the evidence against his client was dubious.
“As to DNA, as to fingerprints, they’re flimsy at this time,” said Aaronson.
Miami attorney Ronald Scott Lowy, who represented Sayoc in 2002 when he threatened to blow up a Florida Power and Light office, told Patch earlier this week that Sayoc would be better served having the proceedings moved to New York, where the trial ultimately will be held and where his defense team could begin lining up experts.
Sayoc is accused in New York of sending 15 improvised explosive devices to numerous Democrats, Trump critics and media outlets.
A white van in which Sayoc had been living was covered with pro-Trump decals as well as images of some of the president’s opponents with red crosshairs over their faces.
No bombs exploded and no one was injured in the plot. Sayoc faces nearly 50 years in prison if convicted on five federal charges that were filed in New York because some of the devices were recovered there.
Other evidence includes online searches Sayoc did on his laptop and cellphone for addresses and photos of some of his intended targets, which included former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Packages were also mailed to CNN in New York and Atlanta.
The laptop had a file with the address in Sunrise, Florida, of the office of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. That office was used as the return address on the packages containing the pipe bombs, according to the FBI. The computer file was labeled “Debbie W.docx”.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Courtroom Sketch by Lothar Speer