Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to mailing explosive devices to prominent liberal politicians and activists, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday.
Sayoc, a 57-year-old pizza-delivery man and strip-club bouncer, pleaded guilty in March to mailing 16 inoperable bombs to 13 prominent Democrats — including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Robert DeNiro — in the days leading up to the midterm elections last year.
“I am beyond so very sorry for what I did,” Sayoc told U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, according to the Washington Post. “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.”
Federal prosecutors called for a life sentence while defense attorneys asked for leniency, citing their client’s financial distress and mental illness, which they claimed was exacerbated by his steroid routine and the influence of President Trump’s rhetoric.
“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. “He heard it from the President of the United States, a man with whom he felt he had a deep personal connection.”
During the trial, Sayoc maintained that he did not intend for the devices he sent in the mail to explode, but did acknowledge that he was “aware of the risk that they would explode.”
Following Sayoc’s arrest, FBI director Christopher Wray said that, while none of the devices detonated, they were “not hoax devices” and theoretically could have detonated under volatile conditions. The devices were placed in padded envelopes surrounded by glass and other material intended to serve as shrapnel.