Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man who sent pipe bombs to CNN and prominent Democrats last fall, was sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison.
Sayoc pleaded guilty in March to mailing 16 explosive devices to targets including George Soros, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Maxine Waters, Robert De Niro and former vice president Joe Biden. Sayoc also sent packages to CNN, one of which was intercepted at a postal facility. No one was injured.
Federal prosecutors sought a sentence of life in prison, arguing he had an extensive criminal history and had shown no remorse for his actions. Sayoc had threatened many of the intended victims on social media as early as 2016.
In court in New York, Sayoc apologized for his actions.
“Now that I am a sober man, I know that I was a sick man,” he said, according to Courthouse News. “I should have listened to my mother, the love of my life.”
Sayoc’s defense team had asked for a sentence of 10 years and one month. In a sentencing memo, the defense argued that Sayoc suffered from mental illness compounded by excessive steroid use, and that he had become infatuated with President Trump. The defense argued that news reports and social media posts caused him to become “unhinged” about perceived attacks on the president.
“His paranoia bled into delusion and Mr. Sayoc came to believe that prominent Democrats were actively working to hurt him, other Trump supporters, and the country as a whole,” his attorneys wrote. “Mr. Sayoc became obsessed with this idea and found himself unable to think of anything else. He repeatedly lashed out at Democrats on social media in vitriolic terms. He then decided to act out — to send a message, to try to intimidate and scare Trump’s perceived enemies.”
Judge Jed Rakoff sentenced Sayoc to 20 years in prison, and granted a defense request that he recommend the sentence be served in Florida.