Pipe bomb sus­pect Ce­sar Sayoc to be held with­out bail

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Kevin McCoy

Court filings say Sayoc planned the pipe bomb mail­ings as early as July.

NEW YORK – Pipe bomb sus­pect Ce­sar Sayoc was or­dered held with­out bail Tues­day af­ter a judge heard ar­gu­ments that the 16 ex­plo­sive de­vices he al­legedly mailed to crit­ics of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump showed he poses a pub­lic dan­ger and flight risk.

U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Robert Lehrburger is­sued the rul­ing af­ter Sayoc, 56, made his ini­tial ap­pear­ance at a hear­ing in Man­hat­tan fed­eral court af­ter waiv­ing a sim­i­lar court hear­ing in Mi­ami on Fri­day.

As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Jane Kim briefly stated Sayoc's al­leged dan­ger to the pub­lic, as well as what she char­ac­ter­ized as his like­li­hood to flee.

Fed­eral de­fender Sarah Baum­gar­tel said she would not seek bail for Sayoc at this point. Lehrburger ap­pointed her to rep­re­sent Sayoc af­ter re­view­ing a finan­cial affidavit in which the de­fen­dant said he was un­able to hire an at­tor­ney.

Sayoc, clad in a dark blue jail smock and pants, said lit­tle be­yond telling the judge he un­der­stood the charges against him and his le­gal rights.

Lehrburger sched­uled a Nov. 12 hear­ing at which Sayoc and his at­tor­ney could chal­lenge the five-count fed­eral com­plaint filed against him. How­ever, the judge cau­tioned that fed­eral prose­cu­tors could un­seal and file an in­dict­ment against Sayoc be­fore the next hear­ing.

Fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors cap­tured Sayoc in Plan­ta­tion, Florida, on Oct. 26 af­ter link­ing him to finger­print and DNA ev­i­dence found on some of the ex­plo­sive de­vices Sayoc al­legedly sent to for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton, for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, ac­tor-di­rec­tor Robert De Niro, bil­lion­aire in­vestor and phi­lan­thropist Ge­orge Soros, ca­ble news net­work CNN and other prom­i­nent Trump crit­ics.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors re­cov­ered all of the de­vices be­fore they could ex­plode, and no one was in­jured.

At the time of his ar­rest in Plan­ta­tion, Florida, just west of Fort Laud­erdale, Sayoc was trav­el­ing in a white van cov­ered with stick­ers that sup­ported Trump and trashed the pres­i­dent's Demo­cratic crit­ics.

Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties ac­cused the sus­pect of wag­ing a do­mes­tic ter­ror­ist at­tack, charg­ing him with five fed­eral crimes, in­clud­ing in­ter­state trans­porta­tion of an ex­plo­sive, il­le­gal mail­ing of an ex­plo­sive and threats against for­mer pres­i­dents.

If con­victed, Sayoc faces a max­i­mum sen­tence of 48 years in prison.

How­ever, Man­hat­tan U.S. At­tor­ney Ge­offrey Ber­man sig­naled in a court filing last week that the sus­pect likely will face ad­di­tional charges.

Sayoc planned the pipe bomb mail­ings as early as July, Ber­man said in the court filing, cit­ing ev­i­dence the sus­pect con­ducted In­ter­net searches to find ad­dresses for his po­ten­tial tar­gets.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say they also found copies of re­turn ad­dress la­bels with the mis­spelled name of Florida Demo­cratic Rep. Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz, match­ing la­bels found on the pack­ages the sus­pect al­legedly used to mail the ex­plo­sive de­vices.

Un­der­scor­ing the gov­ern­ment's le­gal ar­gu­ment, Ber­man said in a Mon­day court filing that “the ev­i­dence gath­ered to date demon­strates the dan­ger­ous­ness of the de­fen­dant and cre­ates sig­nificant in­cen­tives for him to flee.”

Sus­pect Ce­sar Sayoc

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