A Florida man, who last week pleaded guilty to mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump late last year, has said in a letter to a judge that he didn’t know the devices could actually hurt anyone.
In the letter made public Tuesday, Cesar Sayoc says he never meant to harm anyone.
During a plea proceeding, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff asked Sayoc if he knew the devices would hurt anyone. Sayoc replied, yes.
But then in a handwritten letter to Rakoff, Sayoc said he only replied in the affirmative because his lawyer told him to do so.
“In my heart, I wanted to say no,” he wrote. “I realized that it was the wrong thing to say, because under no circumstances my intent was to hurt or harm anyone. The intention was to only intimidate and scare.”
Sayoc admitted to mailing 16 pipe bombs, some of which were sent to former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former vice president Joe Biden, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, billionaire financier George Soros, actor Robert De Niro, several members of Congress, and to the CNN offices in New York and Atlanta.
None of the bombs exploded before being intercepted, and no one was injured.
On Tuesday, Rakoff asked lawyers on both sides if the contents of the letter will impact the guilty plea Sayoc entered two weeks ago. He gave them two weeks to answer.
Sayoc was arrested in late October at a Florida auto parts store. He had been living in a van plastered with Trump stickers and images of Trump opponents with crosshairs over their faces.