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FILE PHOTO: Cesar Altieri Sayoc appears in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. in this August 31, 2005 handout booking photo obtained by Reuters October 26, 2018.

(reuters_tickers)

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York federal prosecutors on Friday brought new charges against Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man accused of mailing bombs to prominent Democrats and other critics of U.S. President Donald Trump.

In an indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors charged Sayoc with 30 criminal counts, including multiple counts of using a weapon of mass destruction and interstate transport of explosives.

If convicted, he faces a sentence of life in prison. He had previously faced five counts carrying a maximum prison sentence of 48 years.

Sayoc's attorney, federal defender Sarah Baumgartel, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sayoc, a 56-year-old former stripper and pizza delivery driver who lived in a white van festooned with right-wing political images supporting Trump and attacking his critics, was arrested in Florida on Oct. 26 following an intense manhunt. He is being held without bail.

Friday's indictment accuses Sayoc of sending improvised explosive devices to five people in New York: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated in the 2016 presidential election; billionaire investor and Democratic donor George Soros; former Central Intelligence Agency directors John Brennan and James Clapper; and actor Robert De Niro.

Authorities had previously linked Sayoc to more than a dozen mail bombs around the country. Other targets included former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Democratic U.S. Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.

None of the devices exploded before being intercepted, and no one has been injured.

Public records showed Sayoc, a registered Republican, had been arrested numerous times over the years, including one case in which he was accused of threatening to bomb a power utility. His social media accounts are filled with anti-Democrat sentiments and racist diatribes.

In a letter to ABC News, Sayoc's mother, Madeline Sayoc, wrote that she had unsuccessfully tried to get him treatment for what she said was long-standing mental illness.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Rosalba O'Brien)

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Reuters