Cesar Sayoc suspected of sending politicians – including Hungarian politician György Soros and Obama – pipe bombs, plead guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison and five years supervised release afterwards. He reportedly cried and apologised as the judge announced the verdict.
On Monday, Cesar Sayoc was given a 20-year sentence in New York. He faced 65 counts of felony charges and a penalty up to life in prison. US District Judge Jed Rakoff deemed that Sayoc, 57, consciously chose to build bombs that were unable to actually detonate, reports CNN.
Sayoc sent 16 bombs to 13 victims in the weeks leading up to the mid-term elections. Judge Rakoff said: “He hated his victims, he wished them no good, but he was not so lost as to wish them dead, at least not by his own hand.”
His targets included former President Barack Obama, his Vice President Joe Biden, former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, to CNN offices in New York and Atlanta, as well as György Soros, Hungarian politician, and more.
None of his bombs ever went off or harmed anyone.
He was arrested in October in South Florida and held without bail ever since. During his hearing, he apologised, saying: “I am beyond so very sorry for what I did. Now that I am a sober man, I know I was a very sick man. I should have listened to my mother, the love of my life. She told me to get help.” He blamed his actions on mental illnesses, such as PTSD from being sexually assaulted as a student, but he still took full responsibility. “I am so very sorry to all the victims… I will be apologising to them for the rest of my life.”
He mailed each bomb from different states, and he was wanted nationwide. After a five-day-long chase, he was finally caught in South Florida.
He entered his plea guilty previously this year, which stated that he understood “the risk that [the devices] would explode” and that he “sent all of the 16 devices with the intent to threaten and intimidate people and with the intent to injure property.”
“Cesar Sayoc has now been sentenced for acts of domestic terrorism that are repulsive to all Americans who cherish a society built on respectful and non-violent political discourse. Our democracy depends on our debating our strongly held views peacefully and respectfully, and when someone does not, on our prosecuting and punishing those who do not abide by these values,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a statement.
“In this darkness, Mr Sayoc found light in Donald J. Trump,” his lawyers wrote in a plea for leniency. “He came to believe that he was being personally targeted for supporting Trump: Mr Sayoc thought that anti-Trump forces were trying to hurt him, and they were to blame when his van was vandalised.”