Pipe Bombs Defendant Pleads Not Guilty, Will Go to Trial Next Summer - NBC New York

Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Pipe Bombs Defendant Pleads Not Guilty, Will Go to Trial Next Summer

Cesar Sayoc's trial is expected to start next summer

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    Pipe Bombs Defendant Pleads Not Guilty, Will Go to Trial Next Summer
    Broward Sheriff's Office
    Cesar Sayoc Jr., in an undated mug shot from the Broward Sheriff's Office.

    What to Know

    • The Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to several prominent critics of President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty

    • Cesar Sayoc was arraigned in New York federal court on Thursday. His trial is expected to start next summer

    • Sayoc, 56, was arrested Oct. 26 in Florida on five charges carrying a potential sentence upon conviction of nearly 50 years

    The Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to several prominent critics of President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty. 

    Cesar Sayoc was arraigned in New York federal court on Thursday. His trial is expected to start next summer. 

    Sayoc, 56, was arrested Oct. 26 in Florida on five charges carrying a potential sentence upon conviction of nearly 50 years.

    Authorities said he sent improvised explosive devices to numerous Democrats, critics of Trump and CNN. The scare heightened tensions before the crucial midterm elections, but he was arrested within days.

    Prosecutors followed through on a promise to upgrade the charges with an indictment that led with five counts alleging use of a weapon of mass destruction. The document said he mailed 16 improvised explosive devices through the U.S. mail to victims across the country.

    The charges said he aimed to "kill, injure and intimidate an individual and unlawfully to damage and destroy a building, vehicle, and other real and person property."

    None of the devices — some of which arrived at New York addresses — exploded.

    Sayoc had been arrested outside a South Florida auto parts store. He had been living in a van covered with stickers of Trump and showing images of some Trump opponents with crosshairs over their faces.

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

    The indictment said others targeted by the mailings also received similarly marked pictures of themselves along with the explosives.

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    Others targeted by the mailings included former President Barack Obama, 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.

    Prosecutors say evidence against Sayoc includes DNA linking him to 10 of the explosive devices and fingerprints on two of them.

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