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US mail bomb suspect faces pretrial hearing in Miami court

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The 56-year-old Florida man accused of mailing 15 pipe bomb packages to high-profile critics of President Donald Trump will appear at a pretrial detention hearing in Miami on Friday morning.

Cesar Sayoc, a former male stripper, pizza delivery driver and DJ who lived in a white van festooned with right-wing political images supporting Trump and lambasting his critics, will appear before a federal magistrate.

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Sayoc faces five charges and a maximum penalty of 48 years in prison for bombs sent to targets including former President Barack Obama, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, other prominent political figures and CNN.

Prosecutors said more charges were likely.

Investigators said they had evidence that Sayoc began planning his attacks in July.

If presiding U.S. Magistrate Edwin Torres agrees with prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, Sayoc will not be allowed bail on Friday and after the hearing would be transferred to New York to face charges.

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The pipe bomb story dominated U.S. news for much of last week, ending when federal agents arrested Sayoc in the parking lot of an auto parts store in a Fort Lauderdale suburb.

The hearing comes during the closing days of highly charged political campaigns across the country leading up to Nov. 6 U.S. midterm elections. The result will determine the balance of power in Congress, currently controlled by Trump’s Republican Party.

Sayoc was arrested days after the first of the pipe bombs inside padded manila envelopes was discovered in the mailbox of billionaire and Democratic donor George Soros north of New York City.

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No one has been injured, but investigators with the FBI have said that at least some of the pipe bombs could have caused great harm. All of the bombs were sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

“The evidence of the defendant’s terror campaign is still being collected but is already overwhelming,” wrote Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a letter to Torres dated Tuesday.

Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Editing by David Gregorio

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘He’s so bloody insecure’: Ex-presidential adviser warns Trump is increasing in his conspiracy theories

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," former presidential adviser David Gergen slammed President Donald Trump for his latest conspiracy theory-laced tweet that Google rigged the 2016 presidential popular vote for Hillary Clinton  — and warned that the president is only getting more unhinged.

"He's so bloody insecure," said Gergen. "This has been an issue that has been with him since the elections, because he feels that people don't see him as a legitimate president unless he won the majority vote. And he wants to sort of convince people otherwise."

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Right-wing pundit scorched for claiming zero Republicans challenged Obama’s legitimacy

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On Monday, right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro made a head-turning claim: That President Donald Trump deserves respect because no Republicans ever questioned President Barack Obama's legitimacy:

Confronted with the fact that Trump himself promulgated the "Birther" conspiracy theory that Obama wasn't born in the United States, Shapiro pled No True Scotsman, insisting that Trump didn't really count as a "Republican figure" back in the early 2010s when he was spreading Birther lies — and that Republican officeholders at the time didn't agree with the delegitimization of the president.

Trump was a fringe character for nearly the entirety of the Obama presidency; he wasn't a "Republican figure" until he ran. You can't name a single major elected Republican official during Obama's presidency who challenged the legitimacy of his presidency. https://t.co/jodrc7Pljf

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Man stabbed to death at California university — he was also targeted with ‘incendiary device’

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Police are searching for a murder suspect after a fatal stabbing on the first day of school at a California university.

"A retired Cal State Fullerton administrator was stabbed to death Monday morning on the first day of the university’s academic year, and authorities later found an explosive device nearby," the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

"Fullerton police responded to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot near the College Park building. Police found the victim, a man in his late 50s, inside a silver Infiniti, bleeding from his head with multiple stab wounds to his body. Police found an 'incendiary device' near the vehicle that showed the suspect targeted the victim," the newspaper reported.

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