A Fort Lauderdale man faces charges of threatening to kill the president Donald Trump after he texted that he wanted to open Trump’s skull like the cantaloupe that it is, authorities say.
Cesar Saiz, 57, could get up to five years in federal prison because of the threats he made over the text message exchange, officials say.
Saiz sent the messages on the evening of July 18, telling an acquaintance that the only way to fix the country was to assassinate Trump, according to court records. Take the demon down, Saiz reportedly texted. I am ready for civil war.
His acquaintance reported the texts to unspecified local law enforcement that same evening, and by about 11 PM., the cops were knocking at Saiz’s door.
Saiz spontaneously yelled freedom of speech! upon seeing the officers, according to court records. He then told officers he’d been drinking for four days straight, and had been unemployed for over 120 days because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his conversation with officers, Saiz repeatedly expressed his disdain over Trump, more specifically, the president’s response to coronavirus.
Saiz then handed officers his cellphone. Authorities said they found that he’d had at least two other conversations on that same day where he discussed the need to kill President Trump.
Investigators also discovered that Saiz had engaged in research into the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and had also searched for places to volunteer to assassinate Trump, and had looked for a union to assassinate Trump, and had offered his services as a marksman if anyone were to need to attack the president.
Prosecutors argued they want to keep Saiz in jail while he awaits trial, citing his history of mental illness and alcohol abuse as well as his run-ins with the law, including a 1991 felony conviction for aggravated battery of a police officer and at least two domestic violence incidents.
Prosecutors also allege that Saiz engaged in witness tampering by contacting the acquaintance who reported his texts to authorities. He apologized to the person via text, asking why the conversation was reported to the authorities.
Saiz made his initial appearance in front federal Magistrate Judge Patrick Hunt on July 22. He had a video hearing Wednesday to determine if he would be held pending trial. The outcome of that hearing is unclear. Saiz is currently in custody at the Broward County Jail.
This is not just saying, ‘God, I wish something bad would happen to Donald Trump,’ says Gerald Greenberg, a former federal prosecutor. This to me is bad stuff and he’s putting it out there on the internet.
Greenberg said the Department of Justice guidelines instructs prosecutors to look at more than just a defendant’s words when charging them with a speech-related crime.
It has to be that they (prosecutors) see this particular guy’s words or this particular guy as something different than the venting that hundreds of millions of Americans are doing every single day, he says.
On July 19, one day after his run-in with authorities, Saiz apologized in a Facebook post. Out of shear exasperation and stress brought on by over 4 months of quarantine and caretaking for my parents, I made an out of character mean spirited statement via text to an acquaintance, the post read.
Saiz’s attorney could not be reached for comment.