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Judge sets date for first trial for riot on Capitol Hill

The scheduling of the trial is another indication of the challenges facing the courts in handling the huge spike in cases – over 300 – resulting from the storming of the Capitol on January 6 by a crowd seeking to avoid. the procedures of the Electoral College certifying the president. Joe Biden’s victory.

A key factor in whether Cua will go to trial sooner or later is the decision that was at the center of Wednesday’s hearing: whether to stay in jail as the case progresses or whether he is released for. live with his parents in Milton, Georgia. If he is sent home, defense lawyers have indicated they will accept a postponement.

Due to the video evidence, plea deals appear likely in many cases, but prosecutors are yet to make such offers as the FBI continues to try to understand the role played by each accused.

Cua, believed to be the youngest person charged in the riot, is accused of assaulting a policeman while he was armed with a telescopic baton, interfering with police during civil unrest, obstructing the Congress and other offenses. He pleaded not guilty through his lawyer on Wednesday.

Footage from surveillance video on Capitol Hill shows Cua holding the baton while confronting a policeman in a hallway near the Senate Chamber. Cua eventually reached the floor of the Senate during the disturbance. Moss demanded to see the video before deciding to release Cua, who has been in jail since his arrest on February 5.

Prosecutors say Cua’s case is particularly serious because of the flow of social media messages he sent before and after the riot, encouraging violence and even executions of government officials.

“On January 6, the congress will open its stores and see MILLIONS OF ANGRY #PATRIOTS. OPEN CARRY MISSON [sic]Cua wrote on the Right Talking platform. “If they vote for Joe and Comie KAMALA asleep, we BREAK THEIR DOORS AND TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY BY FORCE!”

Cua also encouraged action against Governor Brian Kemp (R-Ga.). “WHEN IS IT TIME TO GET HIM OUT OF HIS MANSION?” I’M READY!!! THIS IS OUR # 1776, ”he wrote.

Moss said that while Cua’s actions on Capitol Hill may not have been among the most egregious that day, his foreknowledge was incriminating.

“Perhaps most disturbing, with a strange sort of foresight, he knew what was going to happen,” the judge said. “He was talking about going to the Capitol for the purpose of violence before that happened…. He predicted things were going to happen that I never imagined in a million years on our Capitol. They were just shocking and appalling…. Talk about the public execution of people who work for Congress. “No warning shot.” “

A lawyer for Cua, William Zapf, said it was just the kind of uplifting speech some people get carried away on the web.

“He’s an 18-year-old kid who might be bragging about the internet, but we’re not seeing any real milestones,” Zapf said. “It is ultimately the idle chatter of a young man.”

Moss said he would be more inclined to believe that if Cua hadn’t gone to the Capitol with a gun, confronted the police, and went to the Senate. “It’s hard to say frivolous chatter when he actually acted on some of them,” said the judge, a person appointed by President Barack Obama.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall agreed. “There are few other defendants who have expressed their intentions so clearly on social media before showing up on January 6,” she said during the hour-long video hearing. The public was allowed to listen to the audio over the telephone.

Prosecutors also opposed Cua’s release for another reason – he’s asking to be sent to his parents, but they actually drove him to Washington on the day of the riot and stayed away while ‘he was rushing into the Capitol.

“They didn’t do anything about it and the accused wasn’t arrested for a month,” Paschall said. Prosecutors said the parents could face charges as they appeared to be crossing police lines at the Capitol. No such charges have been laid.

Moss heard directly from Cua’s mother, Alice, who tearfully appealed to send her son home.

“I should have known more about his social media,” said Alice Cua, a professional photographer. “There were certainly some that I was aware of and a lot that I was not aware of and take full responsibility … I should have looked at all the posts, but I didn’t. not done – I did not.

Alice Cua also said the family had abandoned politics altogether following the Capitol event in January and their son’s detention.

“Since he was arrested, everything has changed for us. We really just hope to have mercy, ”she said. “We just want our family together. I don’t even want to hear the word politics. Bruno feels the same. We are completely broken.

Moss expressed concern that due to the ongoing extensive investigation and other factors, if he refuses to release Cua, he could spend “a very long time” in prison pending trial. Paschall said this was not an appropriate factor to consider under the law governing bail applications and that the judge should focus on Cua’s dangerousness.

The judge agreed, but warned the government that if Cua was detained, the defense could insist on immediate access to all relevant evidence and push for a speedy trial.

Defense attorney Jon Jeffress said they would do just that.

“If they want him locked up, they have to be able to try the case,” Jeffress said of the lawsuit. “I don’t want to put the court in inconvenience or the jury in a dangerous COVID situation before anyone can be vaccinated…. This is what the actions of the government are forcing. “

Under an order from the chief justice relating to the coronavirus, trials in federal court in Washington are suspended until March 15. This order was extended several times during the pandemic. Another update is expected in the coming days.

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