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August 5, 2019

“MAGA Bomber” Cesar Sayoc sentenced to 20 years in prison despite LWOP guideline range

As reported in this CNBC piece, "'MAGA Bomber' Cesar Sayoc was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday for sending 16 mail bombs to 13 people around the United States last year, including leading critics of President Donald Trump such as former President Barack Obama, ex-Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, actor Robert De Niro and financier George Soros." Here is more about this high-profile sentencing:

“I am beyond so very sorry for what I did,” Sayoc said before he was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by Judge Jed Rakoff, according to the Courthouse News service.

“Now that I am a sober man, I know that I a very sick man,” Sayoc reportedly said. “I wish more than anything that I could turn back time and take back what I did ... I feel the pain and suffering of these victims.”

But Rakoff said, “The nature and cirumstances of the instant offenses are, by any measure, horrendous.”

“While none of the devices exploded ... at the very least they were intended to strike fear and terror into the minds of their victims and to intimidate those victims, mostly prominent political figures, from exercising their freedom.” Rakoff noted that Sayoc, even if he proves to be a model prison, “will be about 75 years old before he can be released.”

“No one can pretend this is not, in real terms, substantial punishment; but in the Court’s view, it is no more, and no less, than [what] he deserves,” Rakoff said.

Sayoc, a 57-year-old Florida resident whose own lawyers called him “a Donald Trump super-fan,” pleaded guilty on March 21 to 65 criminal counts, which included using weapons of mass destruction and illegal mailing of explosives with intent to kill or injure. Prosecutors said Sayoc’s crimes amounts to a “domestic terrorist attack.”

Prosecutors had asked Rakoff to sentence the former exotic dancer and steroid abuser to life in prison for the mail bombing spree....

None of the home-made bombs exploded, and “would not have functioned as designed,” according to prosecutors. But they noted that Sayoc packed PVC pipes with explosive powder and glass shards, along with pool chemicals to “increase the chances of burning the skin of” his targets....

Sayoc’s lawyers had asked that he be sentenced to just 10 years in prison, the mandatory minimum for his crimes. In their own sentencing submission, defense lawyers wrote that, “a series of traumatic events pushed Cesar Sayoc further and further into the margins of society.”

Valuably, Judge Rakoff authored this nine-page sentencing opinion explaining why he found the sentencing recommendations of the prosecution and defense not quite right and why he settled on a 20-year prison term for these crimes.

August 5, 2019 at 05:29 PM | Permalink


I would have given more, but the opinion was well reasoned. It was, as it were, a judgment call.

Posted by: Michael Levine | Aug 5, 2019 7:19:36 PM

A democrate would have been sentenced to 10 years and be out in 5 on good behavior.

Posted by: Wesley Franklin | Aug 5, 2019 9:18:56 PM

Wesley's comment is stupid for the obvious reasons. But also its factually wrong about how good-time credit works in federal prisons. At best, prisoners get 15% off their sentences, not 50%. See 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b).

Posted by: Anun | Aug 6, 2019 12:39:02 PM

Earlier, I argued for the DP for this guy. The bit about drug abuse moves me not one bit. But the fact that he designed his bombs to probably not explode is a big deal.

That said, I still think the court should have given him life. His crimes still carried a considerable risk of killing someone, and he did it after a long period of research and planning. That's reason enough.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Aug 6, 2019 10:24:15 PM

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