Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man nicknamed the “MAGA bomber” for sending pipe bombs to critics of Donald Trump, wrote in a letter to his sentencing judge that he didn’t know that pipe bombs could hurt people, CNN is reporting.
Sayoc pleaded guilty last month to 65 felony counts related to his October 2018 crime spree. However, in a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff, Sayoc said he wanted to clarify statements he made when he entered his guilty plea.
On March 21, as CNN reported at the time, Sayoc entered his guilty plea. At the time, he said candidly that he knew the explosive devices he mailed could potentially cause harm.
“Sir, I was aware of the risk that it would explode.”
Now, however, Sayoc says that he made that statement “under extreme emotional circumstances” and on the advice of his lawyer. He says he didn’t actually know that the devices could explode and hurt people.
“In my heart I wanted to say no.”
He also told the judge that he is “in remorse” and “extremely sorry with all my heart.” Further, as NBC News notes, Sayoc claims that his intention in sending the pipe bombs was to “intimidate and scare,” and not to actually harm anyone.
— Law & Crime (@lawcrimenews) April 2, 2019
In October 2018, pipe bombs began showing up in the mail rooms of several individuals and entities that, depending on your point of view, could be seen as adversarial toward Donald Trump. Some of the individual targets included Democratic Party politicians such as former U.S. President Barack Obama, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Other targets included people who aren’t or weren’t active politicians; they included two former intelligence chiefs (ex-CIA Director John O. Brennan and ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper), billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer, and actor Robert De Niro. Another package was addressed only to CNN headquarters.
None of the bombs exploded and no one was injured.
After a brief manhunt, fingerprints and surveillance footage led authorities to Sayoc. At the time, he was living in a van plastered with pro-Trump and anti-Democrat bumper stickers, giving him the nickname “MAGA Bomber.”
As The Inquisitr reported at the time, Sayoc entered his guilty plea in March, during which he made the statements that he is now trying to amend.
Whether or not his letter will affect his sentencing remains to be seen. Judge Rakoff gave the prosecuting and defense attorneys each one week to offer responses to Sayoc’s letter, specifically with a view toward whether or not Sayoc’s change of heart should affect his sentencing.
Sayoc is scheduled to be sentenced on September 12. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.