Alleged pro-Trump mail bomber Cesar Sayoc is scheduled to plead guilty next Thursday to crimes stemming from last year's campaign to mail explosive packages to prominent Democrats, according to a docket entry posted Friday in federal court in Manhattan.
A federal official confirmed that Sayoc, accused of sending at least 16 pipe bombs last year to Democrats including former President Barack Obama and to a media organization, is expected to be in court for a “proceeding of interest” — the usual terminology for a guilty plea.
Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, has been held since his arrest last October following the mailing of explosive devices to Obama and others including ex-vice president Joe Biden, ex-presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Democratic donor George Soros and the Manhattan offices of CNN.
A defense lawyer for Sayoc and a spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman both declined to comment on the plea, which was disclosed at a telephone conference on Wednesday to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, according to the court docket.
Sayoc was named in a 30-count indictment in November with multiple charges of using a weapon of mass destruction, interstate transportation of explosives and other explosives-related crimes, and threatening interstate communications. He faces up to life in prison.
Both sides declined to comment Friday on the charges to which Sayoc has agreed to plead. Though a plea hearing is scheduled, defendants can change their minds, and a guilty plea does not become official until it is entered.
Sayoc effusively praised President Donald Trump on social media and drove a van garishly decorated with pro-Trump bumper stickers, alongside others with crosshairs over liberal figures like Clinton or slogans like, “CNN Sucks.”
He grew up in Brooklyn, and authorities said he had a long record of arrests including theft, fraud and drug charges. The government said most devices were similar — PVC pipe, a clock, wires and explosive material packed in a bubble-wrap lined manila envelope with American flag stamps.
The envelopes had return addresses in the name of Debbie Wasserman Schultz — a member of Congress and Democratic party leader from Florida — and were mailed to home and office addresses. Some were returned, some were delivered, some were intercepted at postal facilities, and none exploded.