An Atlanta federal judge denied bond to an 18-year-old Milton, Georgia, man charged in connection with the violent and deadly Capitol riot.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, the judge also ordered he be returned to Washington, D.C., to face his charges.
Bruno Joseph Cua is the youngest of more than 200 Trump supporters accused of storming the Capitol on January 6 and is one of several other Georgians who face more serious charges.
Cua was one of the few rioters that gained entry to either the House or Senate chambers. Authorities also allege that the teen assaulted a federal office while trying to get to the Senate floor. There are pictures of him in multiple locations inside the building.
Cua’s bond hearing took place Wednesday and Friday. His defense team argued that he was an impressionable boy that got caught up in the social media rhetoric involving Donald Trump.
“He was scared,” defense attorney J. Tom Morgan said of Cua’s actions roaming the Capitol. “Look at our client. He’s 140 pounds. He couldn’t shove his way out of a paper bag,” adding that he’s a kid that “needs to go home.”
Chief Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman was bothered by the fact the young man arrived in Washington by his parents who drove him there to attend Trump’s “Save America” rally—which happened before the riot.
The judge slammed his parents for their lack of parental oversight and said they couldn’t be trusted to oversee their son’s release.
“I rejected custodians far less involved in the criminal conduct of the defendant,” Baverman added.
Cua’s father, Joseph Cua, also spoke on his son’s behalf, saying he was misled by Trump and embarrassed for believing Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen from him.
“We believed the people,” Cua said, naming Trump and Lin Wood, an Atlanta-based attorney and Trump supporter who pushed conspiracy theories. “There was no big reveal.”
Prosecutors painted a different picture of Cua by presenting evidence that he talked about violence weeks before the Capitol riot. He was online talking about buying an AR-15 assault-style riddle under the table and said he thought there was going to be a war. Prosecutors also pointed out his clash with a federal office while he was inside the Capitol.
On Dec. 14, he wrote that “I don’t want to sit in Georgia and watch. I want to fight.” Sixteen days later, he wrote, “we just have to take back what’s ours.”
On Jan. 6, he sent a direct message on social media, saying: “We didn’t attack American people. We attacked the swamp rats.” He acknowledged that he screamed at cops to join the insurrection. He said he would lay down his life for Trump. He wrote that he wanted to “lock the swamp rat tyrants in the capitol and burn the place to the ground.”
“We have a pattern of escalating danger,” Buchanan told Judge Baverman. “As early as Dec. 22, he’s already talking about storming the Capitol.”
A picture of him shows him marauding the building hallways and holding an aluminum baton. He also is accused of kicking one closed door.
“I don’t believe I can overstate the seriousness” of the charges, said prosecutor Ryan Buchanan.
Friends and acquaintances of Cua sent in letters to attest to his character, including one from an FBI agent. However, Buchanan told the court that the teen had a history of belligerent behavior. The government received letters from others who say he terrorized and harassed people in his neighborhood going back years, AJC reports.