The mother of Bruno Cua ― a Georgia 18-year-old who stormed the U.S. Capitol, pushed a cop and entered the Senate chamber with a baton after traveling to D.C. with his parents for Donald Trump’s rally ― told a federal judge Wednesday she felt “stupid” for buying into the former president’s lies about mass voter fraud.
Alise Cua and her husband, Joseph Cua, took their teenage son to D.C. for the “Stop the Steal” rally, in which the then-president and his allies attempted to pressure lawmakers to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election based on false conspiracy theories about mass voter fraud. Afterward, the family members made their way to the Capitol and unlawfully entered restricted grounds. The younger Cua made his way inside and shoved an officer to get into the Senate chamber.
Since her son was arrested, Alise Cua testified during a hearing before a federal judge in D.C. on Wednesday, she had spent time “feeling, quite frankly, just stupid for believing what I believed.”
“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.
Bruno Cua, who is currently detained in Oklahoma on his way to D.C., has been in government custody since last month, when a federal judge in his home state of Georgia ruled that his parents were inappropriate guardians and that Cua should be held until trial. Joseph Cua had testified during a hearing in Georgia ― a day before Republican senators voter to acquit Trump at his impeachment trial ― that he was “embarrassed” that he and his family bought into the conspiracy theories about a stolen election.
Alise Cua testified on Wednesday that she was similarly embarrassed by her belief that the election was stolen from Trump, who lost the popular vote by 7 million votes and the Electoral College vote by a wide margin.
“I am asking for just mercy and forgiveness,” Alise Cua told the court. “We are prepared to do absolutely anything the court wants.”
Alise Cua’s voice broke up as she begged a federal judge to send her son home until his trial.
“We are completely broken and just honestly and truly remorseful to the core of our beings, and we’re asking for a chance,” Alise Cua testified.
U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss said he would further review evidence in the case and didn’t immediately rule on whether Bruno Cua would remain detained ahead of his trial.
Bruno Cua’s attorneys ― Jonathan Jeffress and William Zapf ― argued in an emergency motion that Trump had given his supporters “an illegal and impossible task ― to stop Congress from certifying the election results.” They wrote that Trump and his surrogates “repeatedly sowed the seeds of distrust in the democratic institutions of this country, claiming that the presidential election had been stolen from him.”
Bruno Cua, his lawyers wrote, was a “sheltered and vulnerable teenager whose view of the outside world largely revolved around social media.”
The government argued that Bruno Cua should be detained until his trial given his rhetoric and his lack of remorse even after the Capitol attack, when he continued using violent rhetoric about taking over the government by force.
“The tree of liberty often has to be watered from the blood of tyrants. And the tree is thirsty,” he wrote on Jan. 7 under the Parler name @PatriotBruno. “WE THE PEOPLE have a right to rise up and overthrow a tyrannical government.” He wrote in another post that there “will be no ‘warning shot’” the next time the people rose up. And he wrote on Jan. 8 that everyone in Congress “is a traitor to the people and deserves a public execution.”
“This case is not like others,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall told the court Wednesday. “The government has now brought approximately 300 cases before the district court. This one is one of the most terrifying.”
Paschall said there were few defendants who laid out so clearly ― as Bruno Cua did in multiple social media posts on Parler ― what would happen in D.C. on Jan. 6.
“There are few other defendants who have stated their intentions so clearly and so knowingly on social media before showing up on Jan. 6,” Paschall argued. “He knew exactly what was going to happen when the rest of us did not.”
Paschall pointed to one post in which Bruno Cua warned others not to bring firearms to D.C. because of the city’s gun laws: Like other Capitol insurrectionists, Bruno Cua was worried that “patriots” would be arrested under D.C. gun laws before they were able to take the Capitol by force. “Bring other weapons if you prefer, like pepper spray, tasers, baseball bats, whatever you want,” he wrote on Parler days before the attack. “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but they can’t arrest all of us. Do not back down and do not be discouraged. Show up and be ready to fight. This really is our #1776.”
Paschall said that 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 said. “They did nothing.”