Film-maker Michael Moore has released video of mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc filmed at Donald Trump’s first “Trump 2020 re-election rally” in early 2017.
- Moore’s crew caught footage of Sayoc when they were instructed to film the crowd, not the President
- The footage was not used in Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 documentary but Moore wanted to show people Sayoc in action
- Sayoc had put Moore’s face under a crosshairs target on the side of his van
The footage, posted to YouTube, is an outtake from the documentary Fahrenheit 11/9, released in September this year, about the 2016 presidential election.
It contains a few brief shots of Mr Sayoc wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, standing at the front of the crowd behind security barriers and holding an anti-CNN sign.
Moore said he had instructed his crew to film only the people attending the rally, not Mr Trump, because “who we needed to understand were our fellow Americans”.
The sign Mr Sayoc is holding contains the slogan “CNN sucks”, which was also an image on the windows of his van when he was arrested.
While the video plays, the crowd chants the same slogan at journalists including Moore’s camera operator.
Moore said he wanted to show the footage “if only to give you a momentary glimpse of him in action”.
The images of Mr Sayoc shown by most media in America showed an out-of-date image of a “slight, normal, every-day American”, Moore said.
However, by early 2017 he was a large man Moore describes as being “overdosed on steroids”. At the time of Mr Sayoc’s arrest, AP reported that he was a former stripper and bodybuilder.
Mr Sayoc’s van also carried a picture of Moore’s face with a crosshairs target over it.
On Sayoc’s van, Michael Moore’s face can be seen on the bottom, third from the left, near an anti-CNN image and a woman with another target over her. (Reuters: Geo Rodriguez)
Moore, who said he was shaken by the news but had “stopped counting the death threats long ago”, said he might one day get a chance to sit down with Mr Sayoc and ask him “why me?”.
“Because of this target he put on me, the police and security people were looking on Friday to see if a package had been sent to me and, if so, is it still somewhere in the postal delivery system. So far, so good!” Moore wrote.
Mr Sayoc is accused of mailing at least 14 bombs to critics of Mr Trump days ahead of congressional elections.
Targets included former president Barack Obama, Mr Trump’s opponent for president Hillary Clinton, and sitting Democratic politicians including congresswoman Maxine Waters, a vocal critic of Mr Trump, who was sent two devices.
Non-politicians were also sent bombs, including actor Robert De Niro, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, and former CIA director John Brennan, who was targeted via a package addressed to him at the headquarters of CNN..
All of the packages had the return address of Democratic Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who resigned the position after the release of DNC emails during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
The bombs were believed to have been fashioned from designs widely available on the internet.
None of them detonated and nobody was hurt, but investigators have treated them as “live” explosives, not a hoax.