Man who mailed bombs to Trump critics sentenced to 20 years

Man who mailed bombs to Trump critics sentenced to 20 years
© MSNBC

A Florida man who pleaded guilty to mailing improvised explosive devices to prominent Democrats and media figures was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday, according to The Washington Post.

Cesar Sayoc pleaded guilty to mailing 16 inactive pipe bombs to several prominent critics of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE, including 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan Saagar Enjeti ponders Hillary Clinton's 2020 plans Political ad spending set to explode in 2020 MORE, former President Obama, actor Robert de Niro and liberal financier George Soros, as well as CNN ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

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U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff imposed a lighter sentence than the one recommended by prosecutors, who called for Sayoc to be sentenced to life in prison. Sayoc's lawyers, meanwhile, argued that heavy steroid use had made him delusional when he mailed the devices and asked for a 10-year sentence.

They further argued that heated rhetoric against Sayoc’s targets from Trump had exacerbated his instability.

“He truly believed wild conspiracy theories he read on the Internet, many of which vilified Democrats and spread rumors that Trump supporters were in danger because of them,” Sayoc’s lawyers wrote to the judge, according to the Post.

“He heard it from the President of the United States, a man with whom he felt he had a deep personal connection,” they added.

“I am beyond so very sorry for what I did,” Sayoc told Rakoff. “Now that I am a sober man, I know that I was a sick man. I should have listened to my mother, the love of my life.”

Prosecutors and defense attorneys also argued over whether the possibility, or lack thereof, that the bombs would detonate should affect his sentence.

“What counts is what he did, and what he intended at the time that he did it,” Rakoff said, according to the Post.