Cesar Sayoc

Broward County Sheriff's Office

Mail-Bomb Suspect Cesar Sayoc Pleads Not Guilty, Trial Date Set

November 15, 2018 - 2:01 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The Florida man accused of mailing a series of pipe bombs to CNN and top Democrats has pleaded not guilty.

Cesar Sayoc walked into Manhattan federal court on Thursday, wearing a drab navy blue prison uniform and his thinning black and gray hair slicked back into a short, curly ponytail.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment of 30 counts against Sayoc and, through his attorneys, he pleaded not guilty to all of them.

Sayoc didn't show any emotion and didn't say a word throughout the entire appearance outside of exchanging a few whispers with his attorneys.

Both the prosecution and defense argued that this case is more complex than most. The prosecution asked for more time to get more evidence together, including surveillance video from the U.S. Postal Service and expert witnesses.

The defense tried to push the judge to set a later trial date. Sayoc's lawyer Sarah Baumgartel said her schedule is stretched thin with terrorism and death penalty-eligible cases that the Federal Defenders of New York office is working on.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff settled on a trial start date of July 15, 2019.

Prosecutors estimate the government will need three weeks to present its evidence at the trial.

Sayoc was arrested on Oct. 26 in Plantation, Florida. He is accused of sending 16 package bombs to media outlets, prominent Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump. None of the devices exploded.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of life in prison.