What to Know
- Sayoc wrote letters to the judge after the plea insisting that he never meant to say he knew the bombs could injure someone.
A Florida man who pleaded guilty to sending pipe bombs to prominent critics of President Donald Trump will be sentenced in August rather than September, a judge said Monday.
U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff set the Aug. 5 date to determine the penalty for Cesar Sayoc after his lawyer, Sarah Jane Baumgartel, said Sayoc was anxious about the sentencing.
Sayoc, 57, could face life in prison for spreading terror in the days leading up to the midterm election last year. One charge carries a mandatory 10-year prison sentence.
His March guilty plea to explosives charges was a deal with prosecutors that eliminated a charge that would have carried a mandatory life prison sentence. Sentencing was originally set for Sept. 12.
He wrote letters to the judge after the plea insisting that he never meant to say he knew the 16 rudimentary pipe bombs could injure someone when he mailed them to addresses in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, California, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia.
"The intention was to only intimidate and scare," he wrote in one letter, a sentiment he repeated Monday when questioned by Rakoff.
He also admitted that he knew the devices he described as "sparkler fireworks" could injure someone if they caught fire or detonated.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Richman said prosecutors would present the judge with an FBI report longer than 100 pages to show the devices could have exploded if they were properly assembled.
Baumgartel responded by saying the defense would show they were not properly constructed.
Sayoc has been held without bail since his late-October arrest outside a South Florida auto parts store. He had been living in a van plastered with Trump stickers and images of Trump opponents with crosshairs over their faces.
Authorities say he targeted numerous Democrats, including former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former vice President Joe Biden, several members of Congress and actor Robert De Niro. He also sent explosives to CNN.