Ronald Lowy, the Miami lawyer for the family of mail bomber suspect Cesar Sayoc, discusses the concerns relatives had about Sayoc’s mental health over the years.
Sara Marino, Sara.Marino@tcpalm.com
MIAMI — The strip club dee-jay accused of mailing bombs to critics of President Donald Trump is scheduled to make his first court appearance today before being transferred for prosecution in New York City.
Cesar Sayoc, 56, faces five federal charges, including interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of an explosive and threats against former presidents. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 48 years in prison.
Sayoc will appear before a U.S. magistrate judge to hear the charges against him and to determine when he will be transferred to New York, where he will be prosecuted. A New York City public defender has been appointed in the case.
Sayoc, who was living in a van for much of the last decade, listed his mother’s Aventura condominium as his residence. When authorities confiscated the van Friday, it was covered in images of President Donald Trump, American flags and what appeared to be logos of the Republican National Committee and stickers criticizing Democrats and CNN.
Sayoc is a registered Republican and last voted in the November 2016 election. He graduated from North Miami Beach High School in 1980.
Sayoc was working the night before his arrest as a dee-jay at a strip club in West Palm Beach.
Authorities used a fingerprint found on an envelope sent to Rep. Maxine Waters to identify Sayoc as a suspect, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Friday.
People who know Cesar Sayoc said they were shocked he’s suspected of mailing at least 14 explosive packages through the mail, targeting Democrats. Some describe the man as a church-goer, others as someone who worked with strip clubs.
Wray said investigators tracked more than a dozen devices mailed to high-profile Democrats and their supporters that all were similar. Each mailed device included 6 inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, battery, wiring and potentially explosive material designed to give out heat and energy.
The total number of bombs reached at least 14, including package sent to former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Democratic donor George Soros, and Florida U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Authorities found a package Friday with a device in Florida addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, another in New York addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a device recovered at Sen. Kamala Harris’ office in Sacramento, California, and another package that was intercepted at a mail facility in Burlingame, California, addressed to billionaire Tom Steyer.
Sayoc’s recent social media posts paint a picture of a staunch supporter of Trump and Ron DeSantis, the GOP nominee for Florida governor who the president has endorsed, as well as Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Other posts vilify Democrat Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee’s mayor, who is locked in a fierce battle with DeSantis.
Authorities focused last week on a postal distribution center in Opa-Locka after discovering several of the suspicious packages passed through it.
Sayoc was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved with his family to South Florida as a child. Records show he has a history of arrests dating back to at least the early 1990s. He also had financial troubles, filing for personal bankruptcy in 2012 during the Great Recession.
Sayoc’s criminal history includes a 2015 arrest in Broward County for petty theft and probation violation, and a 2002 Miami-Dade charge for threatening to blow up Florida Power and Light in a phone call complaining about a utility bill.
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