MIAMI — The man accused of sending more than a dozen possible pipe bombs to Democrats and critics of the president across the country will remain in custody while he is transferred to New York.
Cesar Sayoc — handcuffed in a brown jail jumpsuit, his hair pulled back into a ponytail — said only “Yes, sir” and “Thank you, sir” during a minutes-long hearing in federal court here Friday. He appeared to be nervous and uncertain, glancing several times at his attorneys sitting a few seats away from him.
The appearance came just a few hours before the FBI confirmed it had recovered in California another suspicious package addressed to major Democratic donor Tom Steyer. If tied to Sayoc, it would mark the 16th that authorities believe he sent.
Three have been recovered since Sayoc was taken into custody, though authorities have warned that more could be making their way through the mail system after his arrest. The latest package was discovered Thursday night.
Sayoc agreed he would not contest his move to New York, where federal prosecutors charged him last week with sending possible pipe bombs to such prominent figures as former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and actor Robert De Niro.
The hearing marked the second appearance in federal court for Sayoc, 56, a strip-club worker and ardent Trump supporter who had been living out of his van in Aventura, Fla. It was held in Miami because Sayoc was arrested in Florida.
A precise date has not been set for his appearance in federal court in New York, though Sayoc’s attorneys said they hope it occurs soon. James Benjamin, one of the attorneys, said Sayoc is being held in the isolation unit of the federal detention center, though he “seems to be okay, considering.”
“It would be nice if they can put him on a plane and get him there sometime soon,” Benjamin said. “Or he could languish in a van going across the country having a tour of every city from here to there.”
Daniel Aaronson, another of Sayoc’s attorneys, said the evidence against Sayoc was “flimsy.” Benjamin noted particularly that federal authorities have said they have a “possible” DNA match linking him to a device.
“That’s a word that doesn’t make it in a court of law,” Benjamin said. “They have to come up with evidence.”
In addition to the possible DNA match, the FBI has said it connected Sayoc to the devices, none of which exploded, via fingerprints. Prosecutors said in a court filing that Sayoc had run Internet searches on potential targets as far back as July. Authorities said they recovered a list of people Sayoc apparently contemplated targeting with bombs that totaled more than 100 people and, in recent days, have been notifying those who are on it.
Zapotosky reported from Washington.