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FBI: Accused mail bomber Cesar Sayoc had 100 names on hit list

By Nicholas Sakelaris
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FBI: Accused mail bomber Cesar Sayoc had 100 names on hit list
An emergency services vehicle transports a suspicious package discovered in a New York City post office on Friday, addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CNN. Photo by John Angelillo UPI | License Photo

Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Accused mail bomber Cesar Sayoc Jr. had a list of 100 potential targets in his van, leading federal authorities to warn that more improvised explosive devices could still be traveling through the mail system.

Sayoc, who appeared in court Monday, is charged with federal crimes related to sending several suspicious packages to prominent Democrats last week. All 100 potential targets are being notified by a joint terrorism task force, officials said.

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On Monday, another suspicious package, which looked similar to the others, was intercepted at an Atlanta mail center addressed to CNN's world headquarters.

All the packages were sent to prominent Democrats who have criticized and been criticized by President Donald Trump in speeches or on Twitter. None of the bombs detonated. Officials said they lacked trigger mechanisms.

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Sayoc, 56, is charged with five federal crimes -- 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. If convicted, he faces up to 48 years in prison.

Prosecutors want Sayoc held without bail because, they say, he's a flight risk. A detention hearing is set for Friday.

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Sayoc was soft-spoken in court Monday. He wore a tan jumpsuit with bright orange undershirt. He had not yet entered a plea to the charges.

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As prosecutors move ahead with the case, one of Sayoc's attorneys said Monday the evidence against the Florida man is thin.

"Just because they say this [fingerprint], which hasn't been certified, and ... two, maybe, DNA [samples]. That's all they have," defense attorney Jamie Benjamin told WPLG-TV. "No pictures of him. No movies. No going to the places where they were mailed."

Sayoc's van was covered in stickers -- some supporting President Donald Trump, some showing certain Democrats with cross-hairs over their faces, including Hillary Clinton. Social media accounts attributed to him also ranted against Democrats and praised Trump.

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"The First Amendment protects words even if they're hate words," Benjamin said. "To connect it to this, the government has a long row to hoe here."

Sayoc worked at the Ultra Gentlemen's Club in West Palm Beach as a DJ or bouncer. He may have been living out of the white van. He'd also worked as a body builder, a male dancer and pizza delivery driver.

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Club manager Stacy Saccal said she wasn't aware of Sayoc's political views.

"He was a nice guy," Saccal said. "He would make jokes, just funny."

Deborah Gureghian, who manages a pizza restaurant where Sayoc worked, disagreed.

"It went to pure hatred, yes, pure hatred," Gureghian said.

Gureghian said Sayoc showed hatred toward African Americans, members of the Jewish faith and the gay community. Still, she said, he was a "model employee" and that she couldn't understand how he could send bombs through the mail.

Sayoc, who has been arrested several times over the years, was not previously known to the U.S. Secret Service.

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