Confessed Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski told a packed courtroom Monday the government misrepresented him as a vengeful loner.
The 55-year-old former math professor made his claim at the start of his sentencing hearing Monday.
He faced four life terms in prison plus 30 years for killing three men and maiming two others. The sentence was part of a January plea bargain that saved him from a trial and possible death by lethal injection.
As the hearing began in federal court, Kaczynski was asked if he wanted to make a statement.
He said he did and walked to a podium at the center of the courtroom, saying the government, in court papers filed last week, was "discrediting me personally."
As part of the plea bargain, Kaczynski acknowledged responsibility for all 16 Unabomber attacks between 1978 and 1995. He will be sent to a high-security federal prison, possibly in Lompoc or in Colorado.
Since his brother David's tip led to Kaczynski's arrest in April 1996, the family has claimed the writings were that of a paranoid schizophrenic, not a cold-blooded killer. In January a federal prison psychiatrist agreed, opening the way for prosecutors to drop their demand for the death sentence and allow the plea bargain.
In the sentencing memorandum, the government quoted extensively from Kaczynski's journals, in which he wrote of a deep hatred for people.
The Unabomber had demanded that his 30,000-word treatise on the evils of technology be published. But in his journals, the government said, Kaczynski scoffed at environmental ideals.
"I believe in nothing," Kaczynski wrote. "I don't even believe in the cult of nature-worshipers or wilderness-worshipers. (I am perfectly ready to litter in parts of the woods that are of no use to me - I often throw cans in logged-over areas.)"
Of his killings, Kaczynski wrote: "My motive for doing what I am going to do is simply personal revenge."
But speaking in a high-pitched voice, Kaczynski said the sentencing memo contained "false statements, misleading statements."
"By discrediting me personally, they hope to discredit my political ideas," he said.
Kaczynski asked people "to reserve their judgment about me and the Unabom case until I have a chance to respond."
He said he would reply to the government filing later, at length.
A half dozen of his victims or their families also planned to make statements to the court before he was formally sentenced.
But as Kaczynski began to speak, the family of the last Unabom victim to die, Sacramento timber lobbyist Gilbert Murray, stood up and walked out of the courtroom en masse.
The first victim to speak was Susan Mosser, the wife of a New Jersey advertising executive killed by a package bomb.
She ticked off a list of household items - batteries, razor blades, pipes, nails - that were turned into deadly weapons by the Unabomber's hands.
"Hold it in your hand when it is exploding and you have unbearable pain," she said.
She told how her daughter had watched her father bleed. "No, no, no, not my daddy," the little girl had said.
Speaking above occasional sobs in the courtroom, Mosser added: "Make this sentence bulletproof - bombproof, if you will. Don't let him murder justice the way he murdered my husband.
"Lock him so far down that when he dies he will be closer to hell."
Kaczynski's 18-year bombing campaign changed the way Americans mail packages and board airplanes, and at its height in July 1995, virtually shut down air travel on the West Coast.