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The lawyer for the New York punch attack suspect alleged in a hearing on Tuesday that his client was the victim of “character assassination” by the media, when the victim’s brother was left in a coma following the unprovoked beatings of the paroled sex offender. the courtroom.
Bui Van Phu, a 55-year-old homeless convicted sex offender, was led into the Bronx courtroom in handcuffs, where the defendant kept his head bowed.
The Vietnamese immigrant, believed to be a member of a street gang, was arrested for the August 12 brutal attack in the Bronx on 52-year-old Jesus Cortes.
The NYPD recommended an attempted murder charge, but Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark downgraded the charges, and Bui was released without bail under the controversial state-backed bail reform law. by New York Governor Kathy Hochul.
NYC SUCKER-PUNCH SUSPECT RETURNS TO RIKERS ISLAND AFTER RELEASED WITHOUT BAIL FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER DECLASSIFIED
Public outcry ensued over Bui’s release and Hochul intervened, leading to the suspect’s re-arrest for allegedly violating the terms of his life parole. He has been held at Rikers Island ever since. Clark’s prosecutors gave no indication Tuesday as to whether they would increase the charges against Bui.
A September 15 date has been set for a possible arraignment if a grand jury returns an indictment.
The judge ordered no communication between the defendant and Cortes, and his legal aid attorney Casey Trimble told the court there was no interest and no attempt to do so from his client .
In the gallery was Cortes’ brother, who wept openly for the last few minutes. He looked the accused straight in the eyes as he left, but Bui did not look back. The family would not speak to the press.
Trimble presented to the judge that ‘several articles’ had been written about his client raising issues ‘completely unrelated to this criminal case’ and insisted there had been a ‘character assassination’ of his client .
Video shows Bui donning work gloves on August 12 before approaching Cortes, a Mexican immigrant he has never met, from behind outside a restaurant and dealing a single blow to his rear head, laying it on the concrete.
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Cortes suffered a fractured skull, a broken cheek and a cerebral hemorrhage. Bui had previously been convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in the Bronx in 1995 and sentenced to six years to life in prison.
He was granted parole in 2019 and is now registered as a Level 3 sex offender – the most serious designation – for sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl in 1994, according to state records.