A Florida man who tried to harm influential Democrats — including members of Congress — by sending them homemade pipe bombs was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison by a federal district court judge in Manhattan.
Cesar Sayoc Jr., a supporter of President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty in March to mailing 16 explosive devices to those he saw as enemies of Trump. The targets included four current 2020 presidential hopefuls — former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, and billionaire Tom Steyer — as well as former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Rep. Maxine Waters of California.
At the sentencing Monday, Judge Jed S. Rakoff said the bombs had intended flaws in their design, which showed Sayoc wanted to scare the victims and not hurt them, The New York Times reported. None of the devices detonated before they were recovered by authorities. Sayoc’s lawyers had sought a 10-year sentence, citing his battle with mental illness and excessive use of steroids.
Sayoc, a registered Republican, has a lengthy criminal history in Florida dating back to 1991, including drug and fraud charges and felony theft. He had been accused of threatening to use a bomb in the past, according to public records.
The bombs caused a looming sense of terror in the weeks prior to the 2018 midterm elections as each new device was found.
Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.