The father of a MAGA-loving Georgia teen who allegedly shoved a police officer while forcing his way into the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 regrets bringing his son to D.C.—and pushing baseless voter fraud conspiracy theories on his family.
“I feel responsible for bringing him up into that environment. I feel embarrassed that we drank in a lot of this rhetoric from so-called leaders that never materialized. I feel I should have known a little bit better at my age,” Joseph Cua said during a Friday bond hearing for his 18-year-old son, Bruno Joseph Cua.
The teen from Milton, Georgia, faces several charges, including assault on a federal officer and civil disorder, for his role in the unprecedented siege. On Friday, U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Georgia Alan Baverman ordered Cua—who encouraged his social media followers to “fight” for former President Donald Trump in the two weeks ahead of the siege—to be held without bond pending his trial.
Before handing down his detention ruling, Baverman slammed Cua’s parents for allowing their son to carry a weapon on Jan. 6 and blaming “leaders” for misleading them, when they should have been setting a better example for their son.
“Mr. Cua said he is misled by leaders. Well, Mr. Cua is supposed to be the leader,” Baverman said. “These were not spontaneous youthful actions.”
Photos show that on Jan. 6, after traveling to D.C. with his parents, Cua wore a MAGA hat and a sweatshirt adorned with an eagle inside the Capitol. He was captured in one New Yorker video in the midst of a crowd of rioters fighting their way onto the Senate floor.
In one video of the riots, “Cua is seen outside the Senate chamber doors, in a physical altercation with USCP plainclothes officers, still holding a baton in his hand,” according to prosecutors.
During a Friday hearing, Cua’s father testified on behalf of his son and attempted to take the blame for his son’s belief in baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. After realizing there would be no “big reveal” proving a widespread voting conspiracy stole the election, Joseph Cua said he now feels embarrassed that he believed the “BS.”
“I myself feel pretty embarrassed that a lot of us feel like this is what happened,” he said, adding that he no longer believes the election was stolen. “There was no big reveal and nothing came out.”
But prosecutors insisted on Friday that his 18-year-old son’s political beliefs extended far beyond those of his family, noting that Bruno Cua had many interactions with police prior to the deadly riots at the Capitol.
As previously reported by The Daily Beast, Cua was cited in December for violating Milton’s public disturbance ordinance after allegedly racing his pickup truck in the Birmingham Falls Elementary’s parking lot. A police spokesperson told The Daily Beast officers responded to reports of the teenager blaring his horn and flying a large Trump flag from his truck.
Cua’s defense team claimed that the teenager is “arguably stable and arguably moral” and would not endanger the community if he was released. They insisted the Cua family was simply “manipulated and duped by leaders” about the election.
According to the criminal complaint, Bruno Cua revealed his intention to travel to D.C. on Jan. 6 on social media days before he went to the nation’s capital. While Cua’s Parler account has since been deactivated, WSB-TV reported he encouraged his followers on Jan. 3 to arm themselves with tasers, pepper spray, and baseball bats for the siege.
“President Trump is calling us to FIGHT!” Cua, who went by PatriotBruno on Parler, said in one post, according to the complaint. “His own cabinet, everyone has betrayed him. Its Trump & #WeThePeople VS the #deepstate and the #CCP. He knows this is the only way to save our great country, show up #January6th. It’s time to take our freedom back the old fashioned way.”
Joseph Cua testified Friday that he and his wife drove their son to D.C. to see the former president at his Jan. 6 rally. After the speech, in which Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell,” the family walked toward the Capitol building, Cua said, but decided to stay along the periphery as people started to climb scaffolding and tussle with law enforcement.
The elder Cua admitted that his son wanted to get a closer look, and eventually got lost in the crowd. Bruno Cua ultimately breached the Capitol with several other rioters and shoved an officer to enter the Senate chamber, authorities said.
In a video captured by the New Yorker, Cua is seen wandering around the chamber and recording rioters sitting at desks and pilfering items. The complaint states that after one rioter was yelled at for trying to sit in former Vice President Mike Pence’s chair, Cua could be heard saying, “They can steal an election, but we can’t sit in their chairs?”
Other surveillance footage shows the teenager walking around the East Corridor—with a baton still in his hand—and attempting to enter several rooms.
On Friday, Joseph Cua said that when he saw his son after the riots, Bruno “said that he had gone in, they had walked around and taken some pictures.” He mentioned “some pushing and shoving,” but didn’t make the incident seem violent, Cua said.
“It was a shock that he had gone in there,” the elder Cua testified on Friday, before admitting he knew his son was carrying a baton that day. He also admitted that he knew his son planned to climb the scaffolding and made no effort to stop him.
“After the 6th I said that is the last rally we are ever going to go to,” Cua said. “It’s time to move on.”