Of­fi­cial: Pipe-bomb sus­pect had hit list of tar­gets

The Standard Journal - - POLICE & FIRE - By Curt An­der­son and Michael Bal­samo

MI­AMI — The man sus­pected of send­ing pipe bombs to prom­i­nent Democrats and other op­po­nents of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump kept a list of elected of­fi­cials and oth­ers who in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve were in­tended tar­gets, an of­fi­cial told The As­so­ci­ated Press last week.

The dis­clo­sure came as 56-year-old Ce­sar Sayoc made his ini­tial court ap­pear­ance in Mi­ami fed­eral court on Oct. 29, say­ing lit­tle but tear­ing up, and af­ter bomb squads were called to a post of­fice in At­lanta about a sus­pi­cious mail­ing to CNN sim­i­lar to the pipe bomb pack­ages re­cov­ered in the case in past weeks.

The of­fi­cial said au­thor­i­ties had re­cov­ered sol­der­ing equip­ment, a printer, and stamps sim­i­lar to those used on the pack­age bombs in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Sayoc, who was ar­rested last week in Florida. Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve Sayoc was putting ex­plo­sives to­gether in his van.

The of­fi­cial wasn’t au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to the AP. The of­fi­cial also said that, as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, au­thor­i­ties were scru­ti­niz­ing Sayoc’s so­cial me­dia posts.

The FBI said via its Twit­ter ac­count that the re­cov­ered pack­age in At­lanta was “sim­i­lar in ap­pear­ance” to the bub­ble-wrapped manila en­velopes au­thor­i­ties say were sent by Sayoc to in­tended tar­gets from Delaware to Cal­i­for­nia, in­clud­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton and for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den.

CNN Pres­i­dent Jeff Zucker says all mail to CNN has been screened off­site since last week, when a se­ries of pack­age bombs be­gan ap­pear­ing around the coun­try. Among them were two ap­par­ent mail bombs sent to CNN.

At least some listed a re­turn ad­dress of U.S. Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz, for­mer chair of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee.

She rep­re­sents the South Florida dis­trict where the for­mer male strip­per, pizza driver and strip club DJ lived in an older van cov­ered with bumper stick­ers prais­ing Trump, dis­parag­ing Democrats and CNN and show­ing ri­fle crosshairs over lib­er­als like Clin­ton and film­maker Michael Moore.

At the Oct. 29 hear­ing, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said they will seek to keep Sayoc jailed un­til trial as a flight risk and a dan­ger to the com­mu­nity. A judge set an­other hear­ing for Nov. 2 on whether to grant bail to Sayoc and to dis­cuss when he will be sent from Mi­ami to New York, where five fed­eral charges were filed.

One of Sayoc’s at­tor­neys, Daniel Aaron­son, urged peo­ple not to rush to judg­ment based on me­dia re­ports.

“Right now, we know very, very, very lit­tle,” Aaron­son said of the case. “We do not know all the ev­i­dence the gov­ern­ment has. You have to keep in mind he has not been found guilty of any­thing.”

Sayoc, shack­led at the wrists and an­kles and wear­ing a tan jail jump­suit, said lit­tle at the hear­ing but at one point tear­ing up. Aaron­son said he did not know what made Sayoc seem emo­tional but noted he is fac­ing decades in prison if con­victed.

Al­though au­thor­i­ties did not im­me­di­ately say who might be re­spon­si­ble for the most re­cent pack­age to CNN, the FBI said it be­lieves the pack­age dis­cov­ered on Oct. 29 is sim­i­lar to those that Sayoc is ac­cused of send­ing. Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials have said they be­lieve the pack­ages were stag­gered and more could be dis­cov­ered.

The New York Times said in a staff memo that it was no­ti­fied by the FBI last week that one of its ed­i­tors was on a list of po­ten­tial tar­gets of the mail-bomb sus­pect. Later that day, an en­ve­lope ad­dressed to the ed­i­tor raised con­cerns, but New York po­lice de­ter­mined that it was a false alarm. The ed­i­tor was not iden­ti­fied.

Sayoc was ar­rested on Oct. 26 out­side a South Florida auto parts store af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tors said they iden­ti­fied him through fin­ger­print and DNA ev­i­dence.

Au­thor­i­ties say Sayoc faces more than 50 years in prison if con­victed on all charges. None of the bombs ex­ploded and no one was in­jured.

Bal­samo re­ported from Wash­ing­ton.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.