Trump supporter who mailed bombs to Democrats jailed

A Donald Trump supporter who posted pipe bombs to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Cesar Sayoc, 57, also admitted sending the devices to former vice president Joe Biden, several members of congress, and the Hollywood actor Robert De Niro.

Devices were also mailed to the offices of the news network CNN in New York and Atlanta.

Sayoc wept and crossed himself, appearing relieved, when US District Judge Jed S Rakoff handed down the sentence.

The judge also concluded that the bombs were not designed to explode.

Prosecutors had urged a life prison term for the amateur bodybuilder, who pleaded guilty this year after mailing 16 pipe bombs days before mid-term elections last autumn.

The judge 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.”

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The former stripper and pizza delivery man from Aventura, Florida, apologised to his victims saying he was “so very sorry for what I did”.

Assistant federal defender Marcus Amelkin said Sayoc was obsessed with President Donald Trump and grew to believe Democrats were to blame for damage to his van, which was plastered with Trump stickers and images of crosshairs superimposed over the faces of the president’s opponents.

Sayoc “looked up to the president as a father figure”, the lawyer said.

One of the bombs that was recovered by New York police
Image: One of the bombs that was recovered by New York police

Assistant US attorney Jane Kim said Sayoc “set out to terrorise people” and had not shown sufficient remorse.

She said: “Politics cannot justify a terrorist attack.”

The judge dismissed talk of Mr Trump as a “side show”.

Cesar Sayoc
Cesar Sayoc is shuffled into a car following his arrest in Miami, Florida last year

Sayoc read from a handwritten statement shortly before he was sentenced, saying he blamed a life of mental illness, a childhood sexual assault he suffered from a boarding school teacher and excessive use of steroids.

He also blamed his failure to listen to his mother, “the love of my life”.

Sayoc said: “I was in deep denial.

“I understand now that I have committed a very serious crime.

“I wish more than anything I could turn back time and take back what I did.”

Sayoc posted a selfie of himself in a 'Make America Great Again' hat. Pic: Cesar Sayoc
Image: Sayoc posted a selfie of himself in a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat. Pic: Cesar Sayoc

He added: “With all my heart and soul, I feel the pain and suffering of these victims and I will be apologising to them for the rest of my life.”

Judge Rakoff questioned two bomb experts and two doctors who examined Sayoc.

The bomb experts, one an FBI agent, and one hired by the defence, agreed that the packages were not configured to explode.

The clocks were not set and wires were not attached, the judge noted.

Sayoc holds up a sign saying CNN sucks. Pic: Cesar Sayoc
Image: Sayoc holds up a sign saying CNN sucks. Pic: Cesar Sayoc

The psychiatric experts who examined Sayoc at the request of the defence agreed that steroids influenced his behaviour, particularly his delusions and obsessions.

Rudimentary pipe bombs were mailed to addresses in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, California, Washington DC and Atlanta.

None exploded.

Sayoc, in letters to the judge, has said he abused steroids for more than four decades and was using 274 different supplements and vitamins along with “heavy amounts of steroids” before his arrest.

He wrote that before he mailed explosives, his idea “first was how to tone down the liberal left violence platform”.

Sayoc also wrote that he believed prominent Democrats were encouraging violence, saying he had been attacked personally – including as he returned to his hotel after attending Mr Trump’s inauguration.

He was living in his van when he was arrested in late October.

Explaining his crimes, he said 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 taking drugs.

In one letter he wrote: “I was getting so wrapped up in this newfound fun drug.”

Source: SKY NEWS

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