Cesar Sayoc, 57, was sentenced on Monday in New York’s Manhattan federal court
Having pled guilty in March to using weapons of mass destruction and other crimes wept in court as he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sending explosives to prominent Democrats and Trump critics including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and CNN
Prosecutors who described Sayoc as ‘dangerous to the public’ after he masterminded a ‘two-week terrorist attack’ motivated by ‘hate-filled ideology’, sought a life sentence
Sayoc’s lawyers said he is ‘kind-hearted’ but suffers from severe learning disabilities, childhood abuse and steroid use that left him isolated and paranoid
They also lawyer blamed President Donald Trump for radicalizing their client
Their request for a reduced sentence of 121 months, just over the legal minimum of 10 years was turned down by the court
District Judge Jed Rakoff said: ‘I’m not particularly impressed by the defense arguments that [Sayoc like 99.9 percent of convicted defendants, is] now incredibly remorseful’
The 57-year-old amateur bodybuilder and former stripper from Aventura, Florida, wept as received his sentence on Monday in New York’s Manhattan federal court.
US District Judge Jed Rakoff called the sentence ‘no more’ and ‘no less’ than what Sayoc deserves.
Sayoc pled guilty to using weapons of mass destruction and other crimes in March.
Prosecutors who described Sayoc as the mastermind of a ‘two-week terrorist attack’ motivated by ‘hate-filled ideology’, asked the judge to give the defendant the maximum sentence of life in prison, because he posed a danger to the public.
Trump-supporting, bodybuilding, Native American Florida strip-club worker IS the ‘MAGAbomber’ who ‘sent suspicious packages to 14 liberals’ Cesar […]
‘This is a man who is willing to get help. He wants it. He needs it,’ defense attorney Ian Marcus Amelkin said in court on Monday. Rakoff countered the defense’s argument that Sayoc will not be a threat after his release, noting that the crimes were committed well into the defendant’s 50s. ‘I’m not sure I understand the argument about age,’ the judge said. Dismissing a request by the defense that Sayoc should receive a lesser sentence because the bombs did not detonate, the judge asked if their client created a climate of fear and terror going on day after day for several weeks?’ Still for leniency Amelkin conceded that his client wasn’t seeing clearly, but now was no longer defending his actions. ‘He is really really sorry and really really afraid,’ Amelkin said. ‘The tears of regret flowed freely,’ Rakoff observed. ‘I think on the one hand you’re right that like 99.9 percent of the defendants who appear before me, he has excuses and justifications for aspects of his conduct. ‘On the other hand, I’m not particularly impressed by the defense arguments that he’s now incredibly remorseful.’ During rebuttal, the prosecution noted that Sayoc had ‘reveled’ in seeing his name in the headlines as the 16 pipe bombs were recovered. Assistant US Attorney Jane Kim said: ‘The defendant’s campaign of terror was national in reach and extremely serious.’ She pointed out that the sentence requested by the defense amounts for less than a year in prison for each of the bombs.
Addressing the defense’s claim that Sayoc didn’t intend for the bombs to go off, Kim said: ‘Even if the likelihood of explosions were remote, these IEDs were still dangerous.’ Finally Sayoc took the stand himself to read prepared remarks. ‘I am beyond so very sorry for what I did. I am forever thankful to my superwoman mother. I am so very sorry for what I did and what I put you through,’ he said. ‘I prepared my speech in writing because I knew that I would be emotional… I had a very hard time in life after my dad left me… and after being sexually assaulted at a Catholic boarding school. ‘Now that I am a sober man, I know that I am a very sick man… I know I should have listened to my mother, the love of my life. ‘I wish more than anything that I could turn back time and take back what I did. I feel the pain and suffering of these victims.’ After a brief recess, Judge Rakoff delivered his final ruling. He determined that Sayoc did not intent to create real bombs and that the devices were designed to create ‘fear and terror’, Rakoff noted. Adding that at least three of the victims had devices sent to their personal residences, increasing the severity of the threat. The judge said Sayoc is ‘obsessive’ and ‘paranoid’ and acknowledged his history of abandonment by his father and sexual abuse by his teachers, as well as the verbal threat he made to his energy company over a decade ago. He said the ‘unfortunate circumstances’ leading up to the crimes are important, but ‘within modest limits’. After the sentence was handed down Sayoc’s team requested that he should be incarcerated in his home state of Florida and to be enrolled in residential drug treatment. Rakoff agreed to moving the incarceration to Florida, but denied the latter request, saying that he will not be making the sentence any lighter.
All of the devices were intercepted and none exploded.
A report by federal investigators concluded the devices Sayoc sent had no mechanism to trigger an explosion and would not have worked as bombs.
Sayoc had been living in van covered in pro-Trump messages and anti-liberal propaganda before he was arrested in Plantation, Florida, in October, 2018
Authorities impounded Sayoc’s van after he was arrested in last year October
“Police activity in Florida where authorities arrested Cesar Altier Sayoc, who sent multiple suspicious packages left to various liberal elite. Authorities prepare to tow away van belonging to Cesar Altier Sayoc.
He said he intended to ‘tone down the liberal left violence platform’ because he believed prominent Democrats were encouraging violence.
Sayoc also explained that he was never political until he was looking at Facebook on his phone one day when ‘Donald J Trump popped up.’
He likened attending a Trump rally to a newfound drug, writing in one letter: ‘I was getting so wrapped up in this new found fun drug.’
In the letters Sayoc also revealed that he had abused steroids for more than four decades and was using 274 different supplements and vitamins along with ‘heavy amounts of steroids’ before his arrest.