ATLANTA — A teenager from Milton has reportedly rejected a plea deal as he faces felony charges in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol in 2021.
Bruno Cua is accused of assaulting a federal officer and has been out of jail on bond since last March.
The 18-year-old is the youngest defendant from Georgia facing charges from the insurrection. Prosecutors said he illegally entered the U.S. Capitol building before eventually ending up on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
On behalf of his family, funds are now being raised to cover his legal costs on a website called GiveSendGo, which bills itself as a Christian crowdfunding site.
Several other Georgians accused in connection with the insurrection have accepted plea deals allowing most of their charges to be dropped. Federal prosecutors traditionally do not comment on plea negotiations in open cases.
Friends and family of Cua have posted updates on the fundraising page. One update about his legal case states, “Like with other J6 prisoners, the government (sic) offered Bruno a plea, which was not acceptable. This means the battle for Bruno’s freedom continues…he and his family will stay in the fight as long as necessary (sic).”
Cua’s case now seems likely to go to trial, according to 11Alive legal analyst Page Pate.
“Usually there will be one offer from the U.S. Attorneys’ Office in a federal criminal case and the reason is they have to get approval for that offer and that is especially true in a high profile case like this,” Pate said. “So it is possible there could be other plea offers, but that generally isn’t the case.”
The online fundraiser paints a picture of Cua facing six-figure legal costs with a goal set to raise at least $250,000. Pate, speaking in general terms, offered a word of caution to people contributing to such fundraisers.
“It isn’t uncommon for families to ask for more than they really need just hoping they can generate more money,” he said. “Because there is no requirement that they then give that money to the lawyer. So you really don’t know what is going to happen with the money if you do contribute to this cause.”
Another update describes Cua finishing high school, working, attending church and overall leaving a positive life while out of jail currently on bond.
But Pate said if found guilty, accepting responsibility is the only thing that could lead to a more lenient sentence.
“Leading a good life, finishing school, which is generally a requirement of your bond anyway, having work to do (is) also a requirement of your bond,” Pate said. “Just complying with those requirements isn’t going to help you at sentencing.”
For more coverage on the Capitol insurrection and read about other Georgians who are involved, click here.
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