Accused insurrectionist Bruno Joseph Cua and his parents are playing the "I just want to go home to Mom and Dad" card in seeking his release from jail while he awaits trial in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot.
That might not be the greatest strategy.
Turns out the judicial system isn't all that enamored with Mom and Dad since they were the ones who drove their 18-year-old son to the infamous "Stop the Steal" Trump rally in Washington D.C. Parents Joseph and Alise Cua don't deny knowing that their son -- the youngest person arrested in the mob--had posted earlier violent messages on social media and then broke into the Capitol.
The folks also had to know that Cua had been cited by police in early December in their hometown of Milton, GA for creating a disturbance at a local elementary school. Police said Cua was driving erratically in his speeding pickup truck in the school parking lot while "waving my (Trump) flag." Bruno's younger brother was there.
Cua's tearful mother told U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss Thursday that since her son's arrest she had spent time "feeling, quite frankly, just stupid for believing what I believed," the Huffington Post reported. "I really should've known better," she said, adding that she and her son felt "ridiculous" for believing the former president's lies about voter fraud. We are completely broken and just honestly and truly remorseful to the core of our beings, and we're asking for a chance."
Joseph Cua made a similar plea to the judge Friday, the Huffington Post reported: "His father bought into the lies too, convinced there was "all this fraud and the election was stolen." But now, testifying in the hopes of securing his son's pretrial release, Joseph Cua said he now recognized that he was misled.
"I share responsibility in that," he said. "As a middle-aged man, I feel like I can filter a little bit of that with reality, but I felt like as a teenager, he was drinking it in, and just believed it too much."
Those mea culpas aside, Cua still faces some of the most serious charges filed against any of the more than 300 arrested suspects at the Capitol. He was armed with a small baton -- which Dad admits he was aware of -- and among other things, is charged with shoving a police officer. Cua was also one of the relatively few Capitol trespassers to make it into the chambers and offices of lawmakers.
Chief Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman sent Cua to a DC jail on February 12 to be held there until trial. At a hearing that day, Cua's parents did not receive high grades from the judicial system.
Ryan Karim Buchanan, a Justice Department prosecutor, had argued for detaining Cua, saying the home wasn't a "suitable place" for him. "I don't believe that home incarceration would work because he's an 18-year-old who's home schooled," Buchanan said. The things that Bruno Cua had ingested, not only from the internet but from his parents, led him to the attack on the Capitol.
"[Joseph] Cua testified that he believes some of this came from him, he acknowledged that he bears some responsibility for his son's belief structure and then the actions that arose out of those," Buchanan said. "Absent the internet, absent going to any rallies, his parents are still there."
"He went up to D.C., his parents went with him, and then he committed multiple felonies there," Buchanan said. "The idea that this is some type of learning experience for him ... the danger he poses has not been mitigated. The danger he poses, I believe, is mitigated with him in custody."
With that as context, it might not have strengthened the home-schooled Cua's case when he penned the following letter to Moss last week from jail:
"I will never be the same person, jail has had its full effect me (sic), I am completely humbled, deeply remoursefull (sic) and regretful! After all, thats (sic) what jail is for right? Teaching people a lesson? Lesson fully received, your Honor…Given how innaproprite (sic) my social media activity was, I truly understand your worries…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."
In the more recent hearing before Moss, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall echoed a similar theme, saying Cua's parents were "inappropriate" guardians given their knowledge of his behavior.
"His parents were fully aware that he was in possession of a weapon, fully aware that he was inside the building, fully aware that there was an altercation with a plainclothes officer, and they did nothing about it," Paschall told the judge. "They did nothing."
It remains to be seen whether Moss will arrive at a different judicial conclusion than Baverman, who said in jailing Cua that outside of a drug case, he had rarely seen this much family involvement in a crime, the Huffington Post reported.
"We have a lot of really serious, a lot of really, really dangerous people who show up here in federal court," Baverman said. "But I have to say this is the first time in a number of years in a non-family drug case where his parents were, maybe not instigators, but aiders and abettors and didn't take steps to stop their child from going off the rails."
"Baverman said it was "not very credible" to him that Cua's father didn't see the danger of what was happening, given that he saw the Trump supporters in paramilitary gear, knew his son had a weapon on him, and allowed his son to go up the scaffolding around the Capitol.
"I've rejected custodians far less involved in the criminal conduct of the defendant," Baverman said. "Mr. Cua said they were misled by leaders. Well, Mr. Cua is supposed to be a leader, as a parent."