MAGA Bomber Cesar Sayoc Sentenced to 20 Years in Pipe Bomb Case

Cesar Sayoc Jr., the Trump supporter and bodybuilder from Florida who sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN’s offices in New York City, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Sayoc, 57, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison by US District Court Judge Jed Rakoff. Sayoc will also have five years supervised release and will participate in out-patient drug and mental health treatment.

During the sentencing, two doctors testified about Sayoc’s state of mind. The judge determined not to give him a life sentence because it was “inappropriate,” according to ABC News. Sayoc’s attorney, federal public defender Ian Marcus Amelkin, said in court that the 57-year-old suffers from mental illness, dyslexia, was sexually abused, and began using steroids when he was 15 years old. Amelkin stated that these incidents had a “profound effect [on] his life,” impacting Sayoc’s behavior.

Over the course of ten days in October 2018, Sayoc mailed 16 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to prominent Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker, actor Robert DeNiro, and the New York City office of CNN, read a statement from the US Justice Department in March. Other targets included California Senator Kamala Harris, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former President Barack Obama, billionaire George Soros, and US Representative Maxine Waters.

The statement also noted that Sayoc attached a picture of the victim and marked it with a red “X” outside of each homemade explosive device. None of the homemade bombs detonated and no one was injured, but the devices set off a hunt involving hundreds of investigators.

Sayoc was arrested on October 26, 2018 in Plantation, Florida just a few days after he mailed an IED to Soros in New York City, the statement from the Justice Department read. The FBI seized his laptop, which revealed that he was doing extensive research on how to mail the dangerous packages to his targeted victims. In March 2019, Sayoc pleaded guilty to 65 counts, including using a weapon of mass destruction, interstate transportation of an explosive device, conveying a threat in interstate commerce and the illegal mailing of explosives with the intent to kill or injure another.

“Cesar Sayoc has admitted to acts of domestic terrorism that are repulsive to all Americans who cherish a society built on respectful and non-violent political discourse, no matter how strongly held one’s views,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the National Security Division said in a statement. “Our democracy will simply not survive if our political discourse includes sending bombs to those we disagree with. I applaud the efforts of so many in our law enforcement community whose alertness and tirelessness led to the prompt arrest of the defendant before he was able to injure anyone, as well as those whose efforts led to today’s plea.”

In court, Sayoc read off of a handwritten statement, apologizing for his actions and said that he should have listened to his mother’s advice and sought help.

"I am beyond very sorry for what I did," Sayoc read.

"I have had major tragedies in my life that had a severe effect in my future.... Now being sober, I cannot believe what I wrote online.... I should have listened to my mother, who is the love of my life, to get help."

Earlier this week, President Trump condemned white supremacy after the US was shaken with back-to-back mass shootings, stating that hatred has no place in this country.

“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed with racist hate,” Trump said during his remarks on August 5, as reported by The Hill. “In one voice, our nation must condemn bigotry, hatred and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”

Last month, however, Trump attacked four freshmen congresswomen of color by telling them to “go back to their countries.” The targets were Democratic representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. All of the congresswomen are US citizens. Since then, many have criticized him for possibly inciting hate speech.

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all) now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” Trump previously tweeted.

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done,” he continued.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits>, and local newspapers like The Waveand The Home Reporter.