WASHINGTON — A Georgia man facing a host of criminal charges for his alleged role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 has been ordered released from jail after contracting the novel coronavirus.
At an emergency hearing Tuesday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss ordered Bruno Joseph Cua released into the custody of his mother on March 16. The delay is to allow Cua to isolate to ensure he is no longer contagious.
Cua is currently being held at a detention center in Oklahoma where his attorney says he contracted the virus “after spending several days in an open room with a couple dozen other inmates,” according to the emergency motion petitioning for his release.
Once released, Cua will return to his home state of Georgia with his mother – his court-appointed custodian while he awaits trial.
According to court documents, Cua’s defense attorney informed the judge of his COVID-19 diagnosis Monday morning. The order for Cua’s release came roughly 24 hours later. Federal prosecutors objected, arguing he poses a significant danger to the community.
“His social media posts… show clearly the radicalized mind of a young man fixated on stopping the normal functioning of democracy by violent means,” Justice Department lawyers wrote in a court filing opposing Cua’s release.
“Given the defendant’s appearance at the January 6 riot without any mask or COVID-19 protections, the government has grave concerns about the defendant’s willingness to take precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” prosecutors wrote.
Cua is accused of forcibly entering the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and assaulting a federal police officer while holding a baton. Court filings include multiple images alleged to be Cua inside the Capitol at various points during the insurrection.
On March 4, two days before he was diagnosed with coronavirus, Cua’s attorneys submitted a letter to the court in which the defendant, who has pleaded not guilty, asked to be released from jail.
“I would like to strongly assure you that I am not a danger to anyone, and I will absolutely never act on what I said,” Cua wrote to the judge, referring to social media posts attributed to him. “I have yearned to speak with you, to truthfully apoligize [sic] and show you my forever changed heart. I will never be the same person, jail has had its full effect me, I am completely humbled, deeply remoursefull [sic] and regretful! After all, that's what jail is for right? Teaching people a lesson? Lesson fully received, your Honor.”