A teenager believed to be the youngest suspect arrested in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot was punched by a fellow inmate and has tested positive for Covid-19, defense attorneys said Monday.
The suspect, Bruno Joseph Cua, 18, is asking to be released from the Grady County Jail in Oklahoma, where he has largely been in solitary confinement since he was arrested Feb. 5, defense attorney William Zapf said in court papers seeking his pretrial release.
“Mr. Cua was assaulted and then threatened by a fellow inmate over this past weekend,” Zapf wrote. “We understand that the inmate struck Mr. Cua in the face with his open hand, injuring his nose, over the use of the phone, and then threatened him regarding the incident.”
On Saturday, a Covid-19 test for Cua came back positive, Zapf said. His attorneys argued that he is ready to safely self-quarantine, perhaps at a hotel, if he is released.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall argued that Cua “poses a significant danger to the community” and that his social media postings “show clearly the radicalized mind of a young man fixated on stopping the normal functional of democracy.”
The “nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community strongly favors detention in this matter,” Paschall responded.
Paschall didn’t address the allegation of an assault on Cua, who is from Milton, Georgia, while he was in custody. But she did cite the multiple photos taken of him during the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol, all appearing to show him without a mask.
Prosecutors have “grave concerns about the defendant’s willingness to take precautions against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Paschall said.
Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in hope of stopping Congress from formally accepting President Joe Biden’s victory.
At least five people died as a result of the riot, including a police officer who was injured during clashes with rioters. Two officers who were there that day have since died by suicide.
Cua had posted on his Parler account that he had planned to go to the nation’s capital on Jan. 6 because “President Trump is calling us to FIGHT!” saying: “This isn’t a joke, this is where and when we make our stand. #January6th, Washington DC,” according to a criminal complaint.
Cua faces multiple charges stemming from the riot, including assault on a federal officer, disorderly conduct and entering a restricted building.