Florida Suspect Charged With Attempted Bombings
The hearing for the Florida man accused of sending explosive packages (pipe bombs) to several prominent members of the Democratic Party and media outlets, including CNN, was held on October 29 in federal court. Cesar Sayoc has been accused of a number of federal crimes, including assaulting federal officers, and faces more than 50 years in prison if convicted of all of them even though none of the bombs exploded and no one was injured.
Although there have been a number of media reports on the incidents and Sayoc as a suspect, in reality, very little is known concerning the actual evidence that the government has in their case against Sayoc. Still, given the seriousness of the charges, Sayoc could end up spending the rest of his life behind bars.
He is specifically being charged with:
- Interstate transportation of an explosive;
- Illegal mailing of explosives;
- Threats against former presidents and certain other persons;
- Threatening interstate communications; and
- Assaulting federal officers.
Although he was arrested in Florida, he is being charged in New York because five of the bombs he allegedly sent ended up in the Southern District of New York’s jurisdiction. He is expected to be prosecuted by the same team of attorneys who took on the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 African embassy bombings, the 2010 Times Square bomber, and the 2016 Chelsea bomber. Sayoc is also expected to be hit with additional charges in the weeks to come, including attempted murder of a former president and/or other official, use of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, and use of a weapon of mass destruction. The District could also decide to charge each pipe bomb as a separate count, which would increase his maximum punishment to life in prison.
According to the complaint filed against him, the evidence includes the following:
- A possible DNA match;
- Bombs and packages bearing resemblances to each other;
- The origin of several packages being in the mail processing center where he lives;
- Sayoc’s van was allegedly covered with text critical of some of the bomb recipients; and
- Sayoc’s social media pages contained similar spelling errors as the package bombs.
In addition, in his defense, Sayoc reportedly told investigators that he worked to ensure that the bombs would not hurt anyone, as that was his intention. This statement—likely made before consulting with a criminal defense attorney—is damaging to Sayoc because it essentially admits culpability.
There is some indication that Sayoc may be mounting a defense based on mental incapacity. If he is able to meet the federal law requirement by demonstrating that he is “unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of his acts due to a several mental disease or defect,” he would be committed to federal custody until he can prove his condition by relying on expert testimony.
Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
Federal crimes are considered to be more serious than state crimes. If you are a Florida resident who has been charged with a federal crime, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away in order to ensure that you are protected in your defense. Contact experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney Jose Baez today to find out how we can help.