The Department of Justice held a press conference Friday afternoon after it was reported that authorities had arrested the person suspected of sending 13 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to CNN and various Democrats who have criticized President Donald Trump.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions led off the press conference and eventually passed the baton to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Sessions said that Cesar Sayoc has been charged with multiple crimes, including “interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and certain other persons, threatening interstate communications, and assaulting current and former federal officers.” Sessions said that Sayoc faces up to 48 years in prison upon conviction, but added that there may be more charges added as the investigation continues.
UPDATE: DOJ spox says AG Sessions had the wrong number for how much prison time Cesar Sayoc faces — he faces up to 48 years in prison, not 58 years
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) October 26, 2018
The initial number given of 58 years was not correct.
“Regardless of their political beliefs. We will bring the full force of law against anyone who attempts to use threats, intimidation, and outright violence to further an agenda,” Sessions said. “We will find you, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
It had been reported that Sayoc made a critical mistake, namely leaving DNA evidence on one of improvised explosive devices he’s accused of sending in package form. Director Wray confirmed this and was clear that the devices in question “are not hoax devices.”
“We can confirm that 13 IED’s were sent to various individuals across the country. Each device consisted of roughly of six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, battery, and energetic material, potential explosives and material that give off heat and energy through a reaction to heat, shock, or friction,” Wray said. “Though we are still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices.”
He said that authorities discovered a “latent fingerprint” on package sent to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) belonging to Sayoc.
“We have confirmed this fingerprint is that of Cesar Sayoc,” he said. “There’s also a possible DNA connection between samples collected from pieces of two different IED’s mailed in separate envelopes, and a sample collected from Sayoc in connection with an earlier arrest in Florida.”
Wray credited FBI agents for successfully conducting an investigation the likes of which you might see depicted “on TV and in Hollywood.”
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman called the bomb mailings “cowardly and reprehensible,” adding that such conduct is “anathema” to democracy.
Intended recipients of these IEDs included Bill and Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former CIA Director John Brennan, CNN, former Attorney General Eric Holder, liberal billionaire donor George Soros, Rep. Maxine Waters, Robert De Niro, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. There have also been reports about investigations of suspicious packages sent to billionaire Tom Steyer and Sen. Kamala Harris.
[Image via CBS screengrab]