Defense seeks 10 years for Florida pipe bomb mailer; prosecutors want life

Cesar Sayoc's defense asked the court for a 10-year jail term, while prosecutors are asking for life. Photo courtesy Broward County Sheriff's Office

July 23 (UPI) — Attorneys for a Florida man who mailed more than a dozen pipe bombs to Democrats and news outlets critical of President Donald Trump have asked a U.S. judge for leniency, arguing the bombs didn’t go off and harmed no one.

In the 32-page sentencing memo filed Monday, Cesar Sayoc’s attorneys cited an FBI investigation that stated the devices lacked key functional components and posed “no real likelihood that they would have exploded.” They said Sayoc, 57, built the devices to resemble pipe bombs but never intended them to detonate.

“In Mr. Sayoc’s mind, he was sending a hoax device, and he had no true grasp of the severity of his crimes or the potential ramifications of his actions,” they wrote in the filing.

The attorneys argue Sayoc was a Trump “super fan” and became “obsessed” with what he perceived as attacks against the president, while believing conspiracy theories online that critics of Trump were “dangerous, unpatriotic and evil.”

“He began to consider Democrats as not just dangerous in theory, but imminently and seriously dangerous to his personal safety,” the filing stated.

Rhetoric Trump used against the Democratic Party caused Sayoc to believe they were to blame for his abuse and suffering, which caused him to mail the bombs, the defense argued.

“President Trump did nothing to dissuade this message,” they said, adding that Sayoc’s mental impairments, social isolation, year’s of steroid abuse and having been sexually abused as a child were all factors in his inability to dismiss Trump’s remarks.

The Prosecution, however, argued in its 57-page sentencing memo Monday that Sayoc, who has nine prior convictions, should be sentenced to life in prison, as his failed terrorist attack was the result of months of planning.

“The defendant’s criminal history, his lack of remorse and his failure to fully accept responsibility demonstrate that the defendant poses an ongoing risk of danger to the community,” prosecutors said. “A life sentence is thus necessary here in order to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant.”

Sayoc was arrested last October and charged with 65 felony counts, including using weapons of mass destruction in connection to 16 explosive devices sent to former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the offices of CNN. He pleaded guilty in March and faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 5.


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