Cesar Sayoc says pipe bombs were not meant to harm in letter to judge

The Florida man who pleaded guilty last month in federal court to targeting political and media critics of President Donald Trump is now saying he did not intend to hurt anybody by sending 16 crude explosive devices through the mail in 2018.

In a letter to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York filed Tuesday, Cesar Sayoc said “extreme emotional circumstances” influenced his answer when a judge asked if he knew the pipe bombs would cause harm. 

The 57-year-old Sayoc addressed the handwritten letter to Judge Jed Rakoff on March 23, two days after pleading guilty to domestic terrorist attacks in which he targeted former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN, among others.

“I didn’t have a full understanding of what to say,” Sayoc wrote. “I answered under extreme emotional circumstances and not sound comprehending circumstances. I broke down and cried reading the statement by my attorney.”

‘Extremely sorry’: Pipe bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc pleads guilty in spree aimed at Trump critics, including Obama, Biden

Identification: What we know about Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man suspected of mailing more than a dozen bombs

He acknowledged in court last month the devices could have exploded. Authorities say he faces at least 10 years in prison and up to a life sentence. 

In the letter, Sayoc said he intended to “intimate and scare” people but didn’t think the devices would work. 

“I quote under sound circumstances and in my words, ‘Know what stated out as a hoax, decoys, devices were not ever meant to work or could have worked, hurt or harm anyone,'” Sayoc wrote. “I am forever sincerely in remorse and sorry with all my heart.” 

He previously admitted to mailing bomb packages last October to a group of people that also included former Vice President Joe Biden, billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros, actor-director Robert De Niro and prominent critics of Trump.

No one was injured as investigators located and disabled the devices, but the spree sparked fear from Florida to New York, California, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere.


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