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Thursday 21 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
orla Pro-Trump signs on Sayoc's van.
# Cesar Sayoc
Man charged with sending bombs to Democrats had plastered van with pro-Trump signs
Cesar Sayoc faces up to 48 years in prison.

CESAR ALTIERI SAYOC, the Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to critics of Donald Trump, had plastered his social media accounts and the van where he was living with signs of his devotion to the Republican president and his hatred for Democrats.

Sayoc (56), of Aventura, Florida, was arrested for allegedly posting at least 13 explosive devices to leading Democratic figures, former high-ranking officials and others, FBI Director Christopher Wray said.

Sayoc, a registered Republican with a criminal history, faces up to 48 years in prison, although further charges are expected to be filed against him for the post-bombing campaign, which heightened political tensions and put the country on edge.

Sayoc has been arrested several times previously, including in Miami-Dade County in 2002 for making a bomb threat against a power company, according to court records. He was sentenced to a year on probation. He has also been arrested for theft and domestic violence.

Sayoc, who sometimes goes by the name Cesar Altieri, also has a history of financial problems and filed for bankruptcy in 2012, according to county records.

Sayoc’s political leanings were on full display on his Facebook page — which CNN reported has been removed by the social network — as well as his now-suspended Twitter accounts and his impounded white van, which was covered with pro-Trump decals and anti-Democrat stickers.

A picture on Sayoc’s Facebook page shows him wearing a red Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and photos have surfaced of him attending Trump rallies in Florida.

One of the windows of his van, which was seized by the FBI, features pictures of former president Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with red bullseyes on their faces.

There’s also a ‘CNN Sucks’ sticker with a target over the face of one of the network’s frequent commentators, Van Jones.

Obama, Clinton and CNN were intended recipients of the pipe bombs sent through the mail with a return address in Florida.

Debra Gureghian, the general manager of a pizza restaurant in Fort Lauderdale where Sayoc worked as a delivery truck driver for several months, described him to the Washington Post as “very angry and angry at the world, at blacks, Jews, gays”.

“He was very, very strange,” she said. 

Tweeted right-wing memes 

Sayoc appears to have had at least two Twitter accounts — @hardrock2016 and @hardrockintlent — where he posted as Cesar Altieri and Julus Cesar Milan.

Political commentator Rochelle Ritchie said she reported a threat made by Sayoc’s @hardrock2016 account on 11 October, but was told by Twitter that it did not violate the site’s rules.

Twitter subsequently apologised, saying it made a “mistake”, and both of Sayoc’s accounts have now been suspended.

The last post on Sayoc’s @hardrock2016 account dated from Wednesday. It is a retweet of a composite image claiming that Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, “admitted” taking money from billionaire George Soros.

Soros, who is a prominent funder of left-of-centre causes, was also an intended recipient of an explosive device.

The post is one of a number of crude tweets critical of Democrats — including California Representative Maxine Waters and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, both of whom were targets of mail bombs.

AP_18299606269060 Broward County Sheriff's Office Cesar Altieri Sayoc Broward County Sheriff's Office

Another Twitter post references the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose return address was used for the packages containing pipe bombs.

In the Twitter post, Sayoc misspells Schultz’s name as “Shultz,” a misspelling that was also used on the mail bomb packages.

In a June post, Sayoc wished a happy birthday to Trump.

“Happy Birthday greatest Commander Chief disruptor shake Washington upside down,” it said.

Thank you for all you do against everyone and not be stopped ever. Straight ahead get it done awesome build Wall [sic].

Most of the posts on Sayoc’s Twitter feeds were retweets of right-wing memes attacking Democrats and dark conspiracy theories.

Sayoc describes himself on one of his Twitter feeds as a former professional soccer player, wrestler and cage fighter.

On his LinkedIn profile, Sayoc claims to have attended Brevard College in North Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and to have studied veterinary medicine.

“Career decision of becoming a Horse Doctor was always a love for animals, which were here first and never do anything to anyone,” his LinkedIn bio says. “And respect all living things.”

Sayoc makes repeated references to the Seminole Indian tribe on his Twitter feed but on his LinkedIn profile he mentions Filipino ancestry, saying his grandfather was a prominent surgeon in the Philippines.

He claims to have worked for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, but the hotel and Seminole tribe said they have “no evidence” that he ever worked there or was a member of the tribe.

US media reported Sayoc had once danced as a male stripper, and the New York Daily News quoted an event promoter as saying the suspect would dance at strip clubs and ran a show called Girls Night Out.

Trump denies blame

Trump has acknowledged Sayoc’s political allegiance, but denied any responsibility that his incendiary rhetoric could have played a role in motivating the spree.

“I heard he was a person that preferred me over others,” he told reporters.

“There is no blame,” he insisted, despite being hounded by political opponents for his response to the crisis in which he lashed out at the media.

“The media has been unbelievably unfair to Republicans, conservatives, and certainly to me,” he said yesterday. “But with all of that being said, we’re winning. So I like that.”

Asked about the role that rhetoric could have played, the FBI demurred.

“It’s too early at this stage for us to be discussing motivation in this particular case,” Wray told reporters in Washington.

© AFP 2018 

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