Pipe bomb sus­pect agrees to NY trans­fer, no bail

Sunday Star - - NATION - By CURT AN­DER­SON AP Le­gal Af­fairs Writer

MI­AMI (AP) — Pipe bomb sus­pect Ce­sar Sayoc agreed Fri­day to be trans­ferred to New York to face charges of send­ing ex­plo­sive de­vices to prom­i­nent Democrats, crit­ics of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and me­dia out­lets.

At­tor­neys for Sayoc said Fri­day in Mi­ami fed­eral court that it’s bet­ter if his lawyers in New York can take the case as soon as pos­si­ble. They could still seek a bail hear­ing there, but pros­e­cu­tors say he should re­main jailed, given the mag­ni­tude of the charges and the strong ev­i­dence against him.

“We wanted to make sure that all of his con­sti­tu­tional rights were pre­served,” said at­tor­ney James Ben­jamin af­ter the hear­ing. “We feel we’ve done all we can.”

The tim­ing of the trans­fer is un­cer­tain. It can hap­pen quickly or take weeks, and is not usu­ally an­nounced ahead of time by the U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice, Ben­jamin said. Even de­fense lawyers are not in­formed.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” he said. “The govern­ment wants to get him up there as soon as they can.”

Pros­e­cu­tors left court with­out speak­ing to re­porters.

Sayoc is ac­cused of send­ing 15 im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices to numer­ous Democrats, Trump crit­ics and me­dia out­lets. He was ar­rested a week ago out­side a South Florida auto parts store in a white van in which he had been liv­ing, a ve­hi­cle cov­ered with stick­ers of Trump and show­ing im­ages of some of the pres­i­dent’s op­po­nents with red crosshairs over their faces.

No bombs ex­ploded, and no one was in­jured. Still, 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.

Sayoc’s lawyers de­cided not to seek re­lease on bail af­ter pros­e­cu­tors re­leased a let­ter out­lin­ing more ev­i­dence against him, in­clud­ing DNA link­ing him to 10 of the ex­plo­sive de­vices and fin­ger­prints on two of them.

COUR­TESY OF LES­LEY ABRAVANEL VIA AP

This Nov. 1, 2017, photo shows a van with win­dows cov­ered with an as­sort­ment of stick­ers in Well, Fla. Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties took Ce­sar Sayoc into cus­tody on Fri­day, Oct. 26, 2018, and con­fis­cated his van, which ap­pears to be the same one, at an auto parts store in Plan­ta­tion, Fla., in con­nec­tion with the mail-bomb scare that tar­geted prom­i­nent Democrats from coast to coast.

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