Milton teen imprisoned in Capitol riot granted bond after contracting COVID-19

Bruno Cua unfurls a large Trump flag during a rally in the parking lot at the Georgia Republican Party headquarters in Buckhead on Thursday, November 5, 2020, two months before he was alleged to have stormed the U.S. Capitol and assaulted a federal officer.  (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
Bruno Cua unfurls a large Trump flag during a rally in the parking lot at the Georgia Republican Party headquarters in Buckhead on Thursday, November 5, 2020, two months before he was alleged to have stormed the U.S. Capitol and assaulted a federal officer. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Americus attorney also wins release as riot defendants appeal rulings denying them bond.

Bruno Joseph Cua is going home.

The Milton 18-year-old, charged in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, was granted bond by U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss Tuesday, according J. Tom Morgan, one of the attorneys representing Cua.

Cua’s attorneys pushed for his release after he contracted COVID-19. Cua’s attorneys also alleged Cua was assaulted and threatened by another inmate at Grady County Jail in Chickasha, Oklahoma, where he is being held.

Cua will be released into the custody of his mother, Alise Cua, on March 16 to allow time to quarantine, Morgan confirmed. Cua tested positive on March 6 “after spending several days in an open room with a couple dozen other inmates,” according to his attorneys.

Separately, a federal judge Tuesday also ordered the release of Americus attorney William McCall Calhoun Jr., who has been held without bond since his arrest last month.

According to his social media posts, Calhoun was among the first of the rioters to enter the Capitol and bragged that he was with a group that kicked down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office door.

Calhoun’s defense attorney had argued that he posed no serious risk to his middle Georgia community, and that he should be allowed to return to Georgia and resume his law practice while he awaits trial. Despite his admitted role in the Capitol attack, Calhoun remains a lawyer in good standing with State Bar of Georgia.

Justice Department prosecutors said his social media posts showed he was both dangerous and delusional.

“He said, ‘Today, we brought our government to its knees with no weapons and now we are all going back armed for war,’” Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Alexander said in a hearing Monday.

McCall Calhoun, an attorney from Americus, was among the hundreds in a pro-Trump riot who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, 2021.
McCall Calhoun, an attorney from Americus, was among the hundreds in a pro-Trump riot who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, 2021.

Credit: Twitter

Credit: Twitter

Calhoun’s defense attorney said the 58-year-old attorney should be released because he needed to continue his medical treatment for prostate cancer and because his age and high blood pressure made him susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

Prosecutors wrote that they found his concern over the virus ironic considering his history questioning the pandemic.

”It’s called ‘the flu,’” Calhoun allegedly wrote in a text message shortly before his arrest. “I’ve already had it. It’s no big deal for healthy people.”

Cua alleged assault in prison

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.

Cua was transferred to Grady County Jail after weeks at Atlanta City Detention Center. According to attorneys, Cua has been in solitary confinement “for all but eight days” since he was arrested in Milton on Feb. 5.

Last weekend, during one of the days that he didn’t spend in isolation, Cua was “assaulted and then threatened by a fellow inmate,” according to his attorneys. The inmate “struck Mr. Cua in the face with his open hand, injuring his nose, over the use of the phone, and then threatened him regarding the incident,” the attorneys wrote.

Prosecutors argued against Cua’s release, noting in court documents that Cua participated in the insurrection without wearing a mask.

“The government has grave concerns about the defendant’s willingness to take precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” prosecutors wrote. “Videos and photographs of the defendant inside the U.S. Capitol shows the defendant in the large crowd gathered there without any mask or face covering for protection.”

Prosecutors have continually highlighted Cua’s social media posts before and after the insurrection. 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.”

In a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss on March 4, Cua begged to be reunited with his family and acknowledged his inflammatory 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.”

Moss set a May 10 jury trial date, but acknowledged that the date might be moved for various reasons, including the ongoing pandemic. Through his attorneys, Cua entered a not guilty plea.

The story so far

More than a half dozen Georgians have been charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol, including Bruno Joseph Cua and William McCall Calhoun Jr. Both men were among the first to breach the Capitol and left long social media trails of their radical devotion to former President Donald Trump and determination to overturn the results of the presidential election. A trial date for Cua has tentatively been set for May 10, while no trial date has been fixed for Calhoun.

In Other News