The Florida man who mailed pipe bombs to prominent Democrats in October pointed to drug abuse in explaining the motivation behind his attempt at domestic terrorism. His drugs of choice: Steroids and Trump rallies, according to letters he wrote federal judges.
In March, 57-year-old Cesar Sayoc pleaded guilty on 65 felony counts related to the defunct explosive devices he mailed Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, actor Robert De Niro, George Soros, Senator Kamala Harris, and various other known opponents of the president. None of the pipe bombs detonated, and no one was hurt. Sayoc said he never meant them to explode, although he admitted he knew that was a risk with gunpowder; still, he only wanted to "threaten or intimidate" recipients, he told U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff during his plea hearing. He faces between 10 years and life in prison, and should be sentenced in September.
In his letters, Sayoc reportedly explained that he was "using heavy amounts of steroids, 274 different supplement and vitamins" at the time of the attack, a cocktail that wreaked havoc on his mental state. "I lost my head, steroids altered my growing anger. I made a bad choice taking them to help," he wrote, according to CNN. "I lost control of myself."
Part of that anger, Sayoc explained, stemmed from the alleged abuse he faced for his support of Donald Trump: People vandalized his van—which he'd plastered with far-right decals and stickers that seemed to advocate for the shooting of people who disagreed with the president—and attacked him after Trump's inauguration, he wrote. Meanwhile, attending Trump rallies gave him a sense of belonging: "The first thing you here [sic] entering Trump rally is we are not going to take it anymore, the forgotten ones," he reportedly wrote. "You met people from all walks life .... It was fun, it became like a new found drug."
Plus, he was spending a lot of time with Trump's "self-help CDs," CNN reported, which he believes contributed to the purported brainwashing. In any case, according to NBC New York, all he wanted to do with the pipe bombs was "tone down the liberal left violence platform" through the use of...violence, or at the very least, the threat of violence.
Sayoc has been held without bail since his arrest. He has reportedly undergone multiple psychiatric evaluations, reports on which his attorneys plan to present at sentencing. One, according to CNN, details the steroids' potential effect on Sayoc's mental health. We shall see whether or not the judge buys any of this, but I'm sure you'll be pleased to learn that he's given up all the drugs: "Politics is dirty, ruthless, deadly," he wrote. "It is a poison. It will drive you crazy like it or not."