MIAMI (AP) — The man accused of sending pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump has agreed to be transferred to New York to face the charges.
At a hearing held in the federal court in Miami Friday morning, attorneys for Cesar Sayoc also said they would not seek his release on bail.
Federal prosecutors said the 56-year-old Sayoc should remain jailed until trial, calling him a danger to the community and a flight risk.
But after reading Sayoc his rights, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres allowed his attorneys to make their case for his release on bond in New York.
“It’s in our client’s best interest to be transferred to New York,” said Sayoc’s attorneys James Benjamin and Daniel Aaronson from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
The defendant, who was handcuffed and wearing a beige prison jumpsuit, only answered to the judge’s questions and remained silent the rest of the hearing which lasted only a few minutes. He seemed tranquil, and barely showed any emotion.
Sayoc was arrested a week ago at an auto parts store in Plantation, Florida, and has been held at the Miami Federal Detention Center ever since.
He is being accused of sending more than a dozen improvised explosive devices by mail to targets around the country.
In the complaint FBI officials say that the alleged targets included former President Barack Obama, former Vice-President Joseph Biden, 2016 Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congressperson Maxine Waters, Senator Cory Booker, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, philanthropist and billionaire George Soros, and actor and director Robert De Niro.
Sayoc, a South Florida native and former stripper, mainly lived in his van but he maintained an official address at his mother’s apartment in Aventura, Florida.
Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York are charging him with five criminal counts: Interstate transport of explosives, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and other persons, threatening interstate communications and assault of federal officers.
After the hearing, Sayoc’s attorneys spoke with reporters, saying their client will have a new legal team in New York, but it’s unknown who will be defending him
“The attorneys that will represent him in New York will decide the next step, in Sayoc’s best interest,” Benjamin said.
Aaronson revealed that he’s known Sayoc for about 4-5 years because he’s represented him before in “shoplifting” cases.
“He’s the most respectful client that I’ve ever met,” Aaron said of Sayoc.
According to the attorneys because of the nature of his charges, Sayoc is being kept isolated inside a “special hazard unit” at the Federal detention center in Miami.
When asked about Sayoc’s health and mental condition, Benjamin said that he’s doing fine, but that his attorneys in New York will look into his health and psychological issues.
“In spite of the circumstances he’s doing fine,” Aaronson added.
It’s uncertain when and how Sayoc will be moved to New York.