Crime

Pro-Trump Miami Mail Bomber Cesar Sayoc Gets 20 Years in Prison

Cesar Sayoc
Cesar Sayoc Via Twitter
Cesar Sayoc, the pro-Trump Miami resident who briefly terrorized the nation by sending a series of mail bombs to prominent Democrats last year, was sentenced to 20 years in prison today in Manhattan federal court, according to multiple news outlets.

Two decades appears to have been a compromise. Sayoc's legal team asked the court for just ten years in prison, while federal law enforcement officials demanded he be put away for life.

In fall 2018, large portions of New York City and Washington, D.C., went on lockdown after pipe bombs began showing up at the homes and offices of various Democratic politicians and left-leaning activists, as well as the CNN news headquarters in Manhattan. In all, Sayoc sent 16 homemade bombs to 13  people who had criticized Donald Trump — including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and even actor Robert De Niro.

A nationwide manhunt ensued. Law enforcement officials quickly focused on South Florida after learning the packages had passed through a massive mail-sorting facility in Opa-locka. Days later, prosecutors alleged Sayoc sent the bombs. Though they were crude, they could very well have exploded and hurt people, law enforcement experts said. Sayoc was arrested last October outside a South Florida auto parts store.
It turned out Sayoc previously had appeared mentally unstable and had been accused of threatening others. In 2002, he was arrested on felony bomb-threat charges after allegedly calling Florida Power & Light and threatening to "blow up FPL." Years later, Sayoc became entranced with Trump, was photographed at his rallies, and even drove a van covered in pro-Trump stickers. A few of those stickers showed images of his bomb targets (Obama, Clinton, etc.) behind gun cross hairs.

Sayoc initially pleaded not guilty to more than 65 charges but ultimately admitted he had committed the attempted mail bombings. In memos asking for leniency, his lawyers claimed he was "born with cognitive limitations and severe learning disabilities," had lived through "a series of traumatic events" that further destabilized him, and finally "found light in Donald J. Trump."
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.