On Friday afternoon, a press conference was held by the Department of Justice regarding the apprehension of the man suspected of sending explosive devices to multiple current and former political and media figures.
Participants in the conference included Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, and others.
Here’s what you need to know:
Sessions reminded the audience that the suspect, who has been identified and apprehended, is “innocent until proven guilty.” With that said, the suspect was charged Friday with “five federal crimes, including 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,” said Sessions.
The attorney general noted that although the charges may “change or expand” as the investigation moves forward, the defendant faces “up to 58 years in prison.”
“Let this be a lesson to anyone — regardless of their political beliefs — that we will bring the full force of law against anyone who attempts to use threats, intimidation, and outright violence to further an agenda,” Sessions stated. “We will find you; we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
Wray stated that “13 IEDs were sent to individuals across the country,” and that “each device consisted of around six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring, and what is known as ‘energetic material,’ which is essentially potential explosives [and] material[s] that give off heat and energy through a reaction to heat, shock, or friction.”
Wray added that “these are not hoax devices,” though they are still being processed and analyzed by the FBI in order to determine if “they were functional.”
How the Suspect was Identified
According to Wray, FBI technicians “uncovered a latent fingerprint from one of the envelopes containing an IED that had been sent” to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). The fingerprint matches the suspect.
Wray added that “there is also a possible DNA connection between samples collected from pieces of two different IEDs mailed in separate envelopes, and a sample previously collected from [the suspect] in connection with an earlier arrest down in Florida.”
The FBI director noted that because the investigation is ongoing, he likely wouldn’t be able to answer questions regarding the motive of the suspect.
According to Wray, as well as NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, there may be other dangerous packages still in transit or in postal warehouses, so it’s important that Americans be aware, alert, and ready to report anything suspicious.
During the Q&A portion of the press conference, a journalist asked FBI Director Wray if there is any reason to believe that the suspect might have had help, to which Wray replied: “We do believe that we’ve caught the right guy, but we also know that this is an ongoing investigation, and there’s a lot of work still to be done, which means there’s still plenty of unanswered questions.”
Here’s the full video of the press conference, which begins at the 24:50 mark: