Cesar Sayoc says 'extreme emotional circumstances' led to inaccurate statements

Aventura man sends letters to federal judge refuting statements made in hearing

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
Jane Rosenberg

Cesar Sayoc is refuting some statements he made to a federal judge during a March 21 hearing in New York.

Cesar Sayoc claims certain things he said during his plea hearing in federal court last month were inaccurate.

In a handwritten letter to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, Sayoc said "extreme emotional circumstances" influenced his answer when asked if he knew the pipe bombs he sent to critics of President Donald Trump could cause harm.

"Your honor, my attorney instructed me to say yes," Sayoc wrote. "In my heart I wanted to say no."

During the March 21 hearing in New York, Sayoc said he made devices "designed to look like pipe bombs" and "with the intent to injure."

"I realized that it was the wrong thing to say, because under no circumstances my intent was to hurt or harm anyone," Sayoc wrote. "The intention was to only intimidate + scare."

In a second letter, Sayoc said he was "not in (a) right state of mind."

"I was overwhelmed, high anxiety, very nervous condition," Sayoc wrote. "I froze, causing myself to not respond correctly."

Sayoc pleaded guilty to 65 felony counts, including using weapons of mass destruction in an attempted domestic terrorist attack, interstate transport of explosives and illegal mailing of explosives with the intent to kill or injure.

The Aventura man admitted in court to having mailed 16 explosive devices to mostly Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and actor Robert De Niro. He was arrested in South Florida in October 2018.

Sayoc's letter includes notations over the court transcript in which he clarifies his statements.

"The fireworks was sparklers not able to explode," Sayoc explained.

Sayoc is scheduled to be back in court Monday afternoon to address the issues.

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