Man wants lighter sentence in KS bomb plot case, citing President Trump

Posted at 5:34 PM, Oct 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-31 14:31:03-04

(CNN) – The “Trump defense” is now a thing in courts across the country.

The latest example is a man convicted of plotting to kill Somali refugees, who’s now asking for a lighter sentence because he said President Trump’s comments about immigrants made him do it.

The day after Trump’s stunning election win, Patrick Stein and two other men had their own surprise planned out west.

"The defendants conspired to detonate a bomb at an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas, where Muslim immigrants from Somalia live and worship," said Tom Beall, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas.

A recording played in court and reported by The Washington Post has the Trump supporter saying: “The f---ing cockroaches in this country have to go, period. They are the threat in this country right now."

He was convicted, but his attorneys want the court to go easy at sentencing. They said Stein was pushed over the edge, and they directly cited explosive and at times false claims by Trump.

“The court cannot ignore the circumstances of one of the most rhetorically mold-breaking, violent, awful, hateful and contentious presidential elections in modern history, driven in large measure by the rhetorical China shop bull who is now our president,” Stein’s attorneys wrote in their sentencing memo.

Legal analysts said courts may recognize the president’s inflammatory words.

"But at the end of the day, everyone is responsible for their own conduct, right? You've heard a million times by your parents, if someone else jumps off the bridge, does that mean you do?" said Joey Jackson, a CNN legal analyst.

Trump denies spurring violence.

Asked about Cesar Sayoc, a Trump supporter who’s accused of sending bombs to top Democrats and CNN, Trump said: "He was insane a long time before. You look at his medical records, he was insane for a long time."

Still, a man charged with assaulting a protester at a rally said Trump urged him to do so.

The courts have said it wasn’t Trump’s fault.

But the president has also criticized low-level criminals being offered deals to testify against bigger players, and now his remarks are coming up in courtrooms, cited by defense attorneys.

"It's called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal," Trump said.

And federal prosecutors said a man recently groped a woman on an airplane, and even in that case he tried to argue that Trump said it was OK.

Legal analysts said we probably haven’t seen the last of the “President made me do it” defense, but they don’t expect it to actually work anytime soon.

Copyright 2018 CNN. All rights reserved.