A lawyer assisting a Grand Island man sentenced to five years in prison for voicemails he left for two Republican members of Congress said the man maintains his messages were not meant as threats.
Carlos Bayon was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Buffalo. He could have received up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Bayon was convicted in August of threatening Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. Prosecutors said the voicemails included threats to "feed them lead" and warned that they "will pay."
Bayon has been representing himself, with lawyer Patrick Brown appointed to assist him. Bayon admitted leaving the phone messages, but said they were just expressions of outrage.
Brown said Bayon argues he chose provocative language to draw attention to the separation of families under Trump administration immigration policy. This is the message, according to U.S. Attorney James Kennedy:
“Hey listen, this message is for you and the people that sent you there. You are taking ours, we are taking yours. Anytime, anywhere. We know where they are. We are not going to feed them sandwiches, we are going to feed them lead. Make no mistake you will pay. Ojo por ojo, diente por diente (This is Spanish for “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”). That is our law and we are the majority. Have a good day.”
Scalise spokeswoman Lauren Fine said the congressman is grateful to law enforcement and the courts "for ensuring that justice was served."