BOCA RATON, Florida – The first thing noticed about Cesar Sayoc was his vehicle.
As early as 2002, lawyer Ronald Lowy recalled, the windows of Sayoc's white Dodge Ram van were covered with stickers of Native American insignia. Although Sayoc was Filipino and Italian, Lowy claimed to be a proud member of the Seminole tribe
The lie was one of many Sayoc would spread over himself over the years. He falsely claimed to have worked as a Chippendale dancer and was charged with fraud for changing his driver's license to give the impression that he was younger, Lowy said, representing him in the case. Sayoc seemed to have a new venture every three months, though none was successful. He worked as a DJ or bouncer in strip clubs, tried bodybuilding, and spent most of the last decade living in his van, Lowy said.
"He invented stories to try to impress people," Lowy said. "He felt as if he had no background he respected or liked."
Then Donald Trump broke into the political scene.
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Sayoc, a 56-year-old Florida man, whose friends and co-workers said he never showed any interest in politics, suddenly began To share pictures of yourself on Facebook at Trump Campaigns. He signed up for Twitter, where he traded in conspiracy theories and conservative memes. He signed up as a Republican in Florida – Lowy said that he believed it was his first time in Sayoc's life – in 2016. He exchanged his Indian stickers for Trump.
"Had no interest in politics, was always in the nightclubs, in the gym, wherever he thought he could meet people, impress people." And then came the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, all extremists, all outsiders, all He welcomed outliers, and he felt that someone was finally speaking to him, "said Lowy.
Federal agencies arrested and accused Sayoc on Friday He sent more than a dozen potential bombs to various Democrats and media outlets critical of Trump. Although none of the devices exploded, the incidents ignited the partisan nature that held the country before the midterm elections and aroused the fear that politicians' political rhetoric would incite physical violence. Liberals charged that was the fault of the president, of which Sayoc was clearly a devoted follower. The conservatives, on the other hand, said that their opponents and media correspondents would take responsibility for the increase in resentment.
Sayoc is expected to appear on Monday afternoon in the federal court in Miami.
Federal officials declined to say what motivates Sayoc motivated, although Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the incident one of "political violence" and said Sayoc "Seems to be a partisan. " Sayoc declined to speak when the investigators approached for the first time and quickly demanded a lawyer, a law enforcement officer said.
Long before Sayoc became political, he became worried.
He has been charged with several crimes over the years, including theft, battery, fraud and steroid possession, according to court records and interviews with his former lawyers. Lowy said that when Sayoc was asked to represent Sayoc in 2002, Sayoc, who operated a laundromat at the time, did not pay his electricity bill and threatened to bomb Florida Power & Light. A police report alleges that Sayoc said the incident was "worse than September 11 ."
Lowy said his first thought of the claim was, "What a crazy terrorist is this?"
"And then this man comes into my office and wears a scrapbook with pictures of people he took pictures of, drives a vehicle like no vehicle sees, and I realize I've got a weird guy here "Lowy said. "In 2002, he said stupid things, but he was not a bomber yet, is it a sign that he needed the words, maybe it's a sign of what he might become."
Theresa Sharp-Russell, Sayoc's aunt "The Washington Post said on Saturday that she knew her nephew was struggling with mental health issues – his mood could rise and then crash, she said – but was not sure if he'd ever had a diagnosis. Sharp-Russell, a realtor, said she talked to Sayoc 12 years ago when she sold him a house in Fort Lauderdale.
At that time, she said, he seemed to be pulled down. He has covered his mortgage for two years. Then the payments stopped and the bank confiscated the property. After that, Sharp-Russell said, he bought a blue van. She was not sure how long he had driven the white man – which at the time of his arrest was covered with stickers of Trump and pictures of his critics with red discs over them.
"If I had seen that, I would have called the police," she said, "that's how scary it is."
Sharp-Russell, who has lived in the area for 30 years, said Sayoc was not dangerous at the time.Sure he would with his mother and But he would also joke and respect her – even though he was a loner, she recalled.
"He was cute," she said.
Sharp-Russell said her family is withdrawing politically and her sister also told her that Sayoc did.
"He's a poor soul and probably just wanted attention," she said. "Maybe he thought Trump was a backup father."
Lowy who is now Sayoc's mother and his two sisters says, Sayoc's father had left as a child and was not involved in his life. Lowy said Sayoc's mother and other family members spurred Sayoc to "seek mental help, counseling, therapy, uncover stories, and every time they wanted to make a suggestion, he would get angry." The last time they spoke – more than three years ago – Lowy said Sayoc had told his mother that he hated her.
Sayoc apparently continued to live nearby. His van was turned into a familiar spectacle in the Waterways Shoppes car park in Aventura, Florida, less than three miles from his mother's condominium facility. Steve Coltune, who often drives his dog past his seat, said Sayoc was parked in an inconspicuous spot in the corner. But the van was such a stain, you could not miss it. "
" I took pictures of them and sent them to my friends, "said Coltune." It was really funny. It looked like a harvester vehicle.
Sayoc attended a college in North Carolina and worked for the past 20 years as a DJ and bodyguard in strip clubs in South Florida, who collaborated with him who provides security for dancers and shovels of money from the stage.
Stacy Saccal, who General Manager at Ultra Gentleman's Club in West Palm Beach, where Sayoc has worked for the past two months, said Sayoc had been recommended by someone in another club. He was "a super nice guy." She said he was
"He was funny, he was entertaining," Saccal said. "The situation is weird, it's unbelievable."
But Michael Jay, a DJ who uses him Years ago, Sayoc said that Sayoc seemed to be "dodgy, disgusting stuff," and he generally tried to stay away from him. "19659038]" He was like the guy who was walking around following the crowd instead of them Amount to lead, "he said. "That's how he acted."
Scott Meigs, a DJ at Ultra, not far from the Trump International Golf Course, said he knew Sayoc from previous appearances – even though they had been out of contact for a few years before signing up again Ultra last month.
Sayoc, Meigs said, had a sudden new interest.
"When I met him here in this club, he started talking politics all the time," Meigs said. "Just stuff to make people vote for the Republicans, and if he saw anything on the news, he'd say," See, see. "
Meigs said Sayoc had agreed to a shift of The texts show that Sayoc is urging Meigs to vote for the Republican Ron DeSantis in the upcoming Florida governors' election, saying that he had the stickers on Sayoc's Van, the Some employees, he said, assumed that it was an ice cream truck.
It's not clear when Sayoc's interest in politics began, even though his social media suggested it was On June 18, 2015, his Facebook account expressed early enthusiasm for Trump, who announced his candidacy for the president two days earlier. "Don ald Trump the nxt big president supports all indigenous red man tribes and billion followers, "said the account, according to the pictures to the post by Columbia University social media researcher Jonathan Albright, which they downloaded on Friday before Facebook removed the information. Sayoc created a Twitter account on May 20, 2016 and soon began sharing positive feelings about Trump and attacks on Trump's opponents.
The contributions are a mixture of wild conspiracy theories and hints of violence. He has tweeted dozens of times about former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, liberal billionaire George Soros and MP Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). They were all recipients of potential explosives. He seemed to have a special contempt for Hollywood and the media in response to an article about a shoot-out at Capital Gazette in Maryland with the message, "If it had lied, BS news would have been exaggerated."
Lowy said that he believed Sayoc found a home in the world of conservative trolls, albeit a dark one.
"This is someone who did not fit into society," said Lowy. He lost himself, and unfortunately he was found by the wrong group. "
In hindsight, Meigs, the DJ at Ultra, said he realized that Sayoc had played strange in the last few days. On Thursday, Meigs said a dancer had gotten up to ask how Sayoc was walking when he was near his delivery van, and Sayoc did not let them in. When Sayoc played his set that night, he let the songs run for an unusually long seven or eight minutes, and the dancers reported looking down and fumbling with materials in the cabin, Meigs said. He said he noticed on Sunday that Sayoc had two large duffle bags, although the only equipment he needed for his job was a laptop and a hard drive.
"I just thought he was excited about the upcoming election," said Meigs. "I thought that would be good, we should all go out and vote, you know, if you like the thing passionately, I understand, but God, but how he left that's totally crazy."
Meigs said that FBI had been in the club Friday to interview employees. The FBI has said that they've linked Sayoc to a fingerprint and possible DNA compliance with the devices, though they have not described exactly where he got the materials from, or if the devices he made actually worked.
I was curious about what was in the bags, "Meigs said." They were very tall and solid. "
Rozsa reported from West Palm Beach, Fla. Amy B. Wang, Julie Tate, Craig Timberg, Annie Gowen, Elise Viebeck, Andrew Ba Tran, and Devlin Barrett contributed to this report from Washington.
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