WASHINGTON (AP) — A highschool pupil who stormed the U.S. Capitol, assaulted a police officer and sat in a Senate ground chair reserved for the vice chairman was sentenced on Wednesday to 1 12 months in jail.
Georgia resident Bruno Joseph Cua was 18 when he attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, making him one of many youngest individuals charged within the riot.
Earlier than studying his sentence, Cua apologized for his actions and instructed U.S. District Choose Randolph Moss that he’s ashamed of his position in a mob’s “assault on democracy.”
“All the pieces that day was only one horrible resolution after one other,” stated Cua, now 21.
Moss sentenced Cua to a jail time period of 1 12 months and sooner or later adopted by three years of supervised launch. The choose convicted Cua of felony fees after a trial earlier this 12 months.
Moss instructed Cua that he was ready to present him an extended jail sentence earlier than he heard his assertion in court docket on Wednesday. The choose stated he believes Cua is really remorseful.
“It is a tragic case for the nation. It is a tragic case for you and your loved ones,” the choose instructed him. “There aren’t any winners in any of this.”
Greater than 1,000 individuals have been charged with Jan. 6-related crimes. Cua is considered one of not less than six Capitol riot defendants born in 2002, in accordance with a spokesperson for the U.S. Lawyer’s workplace for the District of Columbia.
Cua’s attorneys cited his youth as grounds for leniency. His actions on Jan. 6 “mirror his immaturity on the time and the consequences that the group had on such a teen,” protection attorneys wrote in a court docket submitting.
Across the time of the riot, Cua was ending on-line coursework to graduate from highschool. Prosecutors stated Cua’s age is “solely barely” a mitigating think about his favor.
“People who attain the age of 18 are entrusted with a number of essential duties and duties together with voting, becoming a member of the navy, signing a contract, and serving on a jury. On this method, the legislation acknowledges that an 18-year-old is able to making mature selections,” they wrote in a court docket submitting.
Justice Division prosecutor Kaitlin Klamann stated not less than 5 Capitol riot defendants had been youthful than Cua on Jan. 6. Two of the 5 have resolved their circumstances and prevented jail phrases. Each pleaded responsible to misdemeanor offenses and had been sentenced to probation.
Cua deliberate his assault weeks upfront, introduced weapons to the Capitol, tried to terrorize congressional staffers and was repeatedly aggressive towards police, prosecutors stated.
They added, “Cua performed a singular and outstanding position on January 6, opening the Senate Chamber to the rioters, escalating confrontations, and main different rioters into and thru the Capitol.”
Prosecutors really helpful a jail sentence of 4 years and 9 months for Cua. His legal professionals requested the choose to condemn him to time served: the 40 days he spent in jail after his February 2021 arrest.
Cua stated he was “scarred to my core” by his jail time. One other inmate assaulted Cua whereas he was jailed in Oklahoma, in accordance with considered one of his legal professionals.
“I did one thing silly to land myself there, but it surely was traumatizing,” Cua stated.
Different younger rioters have acquired jail phrases. In March, for instance, U.S. District Choose Reggie Walton sentenced Aiden Bilyard to 3 years and 4 months of incarceration. Bilyard, of Cary, North Carolina, additionally was 18 when he stormed the Capitol, pepper sprayed a line of cops and used a bat to interrupt right into a Capitol convention room.
Cua and his dad and mom drove from their dwelling in Milton, Georgia, to Washington D.C., arriving a day earlier than then-President Donald Trump spoke at his “Cease the Steal” rally. The Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 disrupted the joint session of Congress for certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Cua was armed with pepper spray and a metallic baton — weapons given to him by his father — when rioters breached police traces on the west facet of the Capitol, in accordance with prosecutors. After climbing scaffolding, Cua entered the constructing via the Higher West Terrace doorways and and walked down a hallway towards the Senate.
“As Cua walked down the hallway, he tried to open each single workplace door he handed by pulling on doorknobs, pounding on the doorways together with his fist, and kicking the doorways,” prosecutors wrote.
They stated Cua meant to intimidate staffers who had been behind the doorways as he yelled, “Hey! The place are the swamp rats hiding?”
Cua went to the third ground, the place he shoved a Capitol police officer who was attempting to lock doorways to the Senate gallery. After the officer retreated, Cua entered the gallery, shouting “That is our home! That is our nation!” Leaping onto the Senate ground, he sat within the chair for then-Vice President Mike Pence, leaned again and propped his toes up on a desk.
Then he opened a door, permitting dozens of different rioters onto the Senate ground. Earlier than leaving, Cua rifled via desks belonging to Senators Charles Grassley, John Thune and Dianne Feinstein.
Moss determined the case in opposition to Cua and not using a jury in February, convicting him of obstructing the Jan. 6 congressional continuing and assaulting a federal officer. The choose handed down the decision after a “stipulated bench trial,” a continuing wherein Cua did not contest the info supporting his convictions. He waived his proper to a jury trial.
Prosecutors requested Moss to impose a $23,485 high-quality, which equals the sum of money raised by a web-based fundraising marketing campaign referred to as “Bruno Cua: An American’s Future at Stake.” The web site stated the funds might be used for Cua’s “many bills in his pursuit of his freedom.”