06:04 GMT +320 October 2019
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    Televised pictures of parcel bombs suspect Cesar Sayoc are reflected in the official portrait of US President Donald Trump at the Justice Department in Washington DC, October 26, 2018

    US Man Given 20-Year Prison Sentence For Sending Pipe Bombs to Trump Critics

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    Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to current or former Democratic party officials and critics of US President Donald Trump, was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

    Sayoc’s defense team had sought for Sayoc to receive a 10 year-and-one-month sentence, arguing that Sayoc suffered from mental illness and steroid overuse at the time of his crime. His attorneys also argued that news reports and social media reports caused him to become infatuated with Trump.

    “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.”

    Prosecutors, on the other hand, argued for a life sentence for the 57-year-old man.

    US District Judge Jed Rakoff argued on Monday that Sayoc most likely did not intentionally intend to harm anyone.

    “The nature and circumstances of the offenses are by any measure horrendous,” Rakoff said Monday, also adding that Sayoc was “fully capable of” building working bombs. 

    “He hated his victims,” the judge added, “but did not wish them dead, at least not by his own hand.”

    Following the sentencing, Rakoff expressed how Sayoc’s mental state reveals “how dysfunctional life, even in our great society, can sometimes be.”

    Following his arrest, the 57-year-old Floridian pleaded guilty to 65 counts, including using weapons of mass destruction, interstate mailing of explosives and the use of destructive devices during crimes of violence.

    Sayoc was accused of sending 16 improvised explosive devices in October 2018 to 13 people, including former US President Barack Obama, former US Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Congresswomen Deborah Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Maxine Walters (D-CA), as well as to the corporate media outlet CNN. None of the devices detonated and there were no injuries.

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