A Georgia high school student who broke into the U.S. Capitol, attacked a police officer, and sat in former Vice President Mike Pence's chair on the Senate floor was sentenced to just one year in prison today — a more lenient sentence than the judge had originally considered after factoring in the young man's age and remorse.
Bruno Joseph Cua, 18 years old at the time, had driven to Washington D.C. with his parents, according to AP News. After attending Donald Trump's Stop the Steal rally, he joined the riots, stormed the Capitol building armed with pepper spray and a baton, and kicked in Capitol doors as he tried to intimidate staffers. But now, at age 21 and facing prison time, his attitude before the sentencing turned to one of regret, expressing shame for his part in the "attack on democracy."
"Everything that day was just one terrible decision after another," he told U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss. And after receiving his one-year sentence (plus three years of supervised release), he said he was "scarred to my core."
From AP News:
Prosecutors recommended a prison sentence of four years and nine months for Cua. His lawyers asked the judge to sentence him to time served: the 40 days he spent in jail after his February 2021 arrest.
Moss told Cua that he was prepared to give him a longer prison sentence before he heard his statement in court on Wednesday. The judge said he believes Cua is truly remorseful.
"It's a tragic case for the country. It's a tragic case for you and your family," the judge told him. "There are no winners in any of this." …
Around the time of the riot, Cua was finishing online coursework to graduate from high school. Prosecutors said Cua's age is "only slightly" a mitigating factor in his favor.
Justice Department prosecutor Kaitlin Klamann said at least five Capitol riot defendants were younger than Cua on Jan. 6. Two of the five have resolved their cases and avoided prison terms. Both pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses and were sentenced to probation.