‘I was wrong’: Milton man, 18, held in Capitol riot appeals to judge for release

In the FBI's criminal complaint against 18-year-old Bruno Cua of Milton, Cua is identified in a U.S. Capitol surveillance video swinging what appears to be a baton.

Credit: USAO/FBI

Credit: USAO/FBI

In the FBI's criminal complaint against 18-year-old Bruno Cua of Milton, Cua is identified in a U.S. Capitol surveillance video swinging what appears to be a baton.

Bruno Joseph Cua, the Milton 18-year-old charged in connection with the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, wants to go home to his parents.

In a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss on Thursday, Cua begged to be reunited with his family as he awaits trial, promising “not to step one foot out of line.” Cua has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 5, and has appealed an earlier court ruling denying him bond.

“I will never be the same person, jail has had its full effect me (sic), I am completely humbled, deeply remoursefull (sic) and regretful!” Cua wrote. “After all, thats (sic) what jail is for right? Teaching people a lesson? Lesson fully received, your Honor.”

Cua is the youngest of the more than 300 supporters of former President Donald Trump accused in the breach of the Capitol and, among Georgians charged, faces the most serious crimes. He is among just a handful of rioters who gained access to either the House or Senate chambers.

Prosecutors allege that Cua assaulted a federal officer while fighting his way to the Senate floor. He was photographed twirling a baton in multiple locations throughout the Capitol, joining the lawless mob that disrupted the counting of electoral college votes certifying the election of President Joe Biden. The charge for obstructing an official proceeding before Congress is punishable by up to 20 years, according to Cua’s attorneys.

A federal judge in Atlanta denied Cua bond on Feb. 12.

On Wednesday, Cua appeared at a hearing by video from the Grady County Jail in Chickasha, Okla., where he was transferred after weeks at Atlanta City Detention Center. Through his attorneys, Cua entered a not guilty plea. Moss set a May 10 jury trial date, but acknowledged that the date might be moved for various reasons, including the ongoing pandemic.

In a Feb. 26 defense motion arguing for Cua’s release, lawyers said that he was “an impressionable 18-year-old kid who was in the middle of finishing his online coursework to graduate from high school when he was arrested.”

Cua’s attorneys contend he didn’t come up with the inflammatory language he espoused online while fishing and building treehouses in Milton. Instead, his lawyers say, Cua was parroting what he saw online.

Moss was skeptical, pointing out that Cua had engaged in violent online rhetoric before the insurrection. He also asked to see video of Cua wielding the baton before ruling whether to grant an appeal for bond.

According to prosecutors, on Dec. 30 Cua wrote that “we just have to take back what’s ours.” Then, on Jan. 6, he wrote: “We didn’t attack American people. We attacked the swamp rats.” He also wrote that he wanted to “lock the swamp rat tyrants in the capitol and burn the place to the ground.”

In his letter to the court, Cua acknowledged his social media posts.

“Given how innaproprite (sic) my social media activity was, I truly understand your worries,” Cua wrote. “I am not a danger to anyone, and I will absolutely never act on what I said.”

“I have completely lost those aggressive feelings and moved on from the entire politcal (sic) idea,” he added a few sentences later. “I was wrong.”

Prosecutors have objected to Cua’s release to his parents’ custody because it was his parents, Joseph and Alise Cua, who drove with him to Washington to attend former President Trump’s “Save America” rally.

“We never would have gone to Washington if we would have know things would have turned violent,” the parents said in a letter submitted to Moss. “We wish so much that we would not have agreed to let him get a closer look at what was unfolding at the Capitol, but we honestly had no thought that Bruno would ever get involved.”