Kathy Hochul ORDERS rearrest of sex offender who was FREED by woke DA despite assault that left man in coma

Hochul ordered Bui Van Phu's rearrest and questioned the Bronx District Attorney's office for only charging him with misdemeanors while his victim was in a coma

Kathy Hochul ORDERS rearrest of sex offender who was FREED by woke DA despite assault that left man in coma
Van Phu Bui (L) allegedly punched 52-year-old Jesus Cortes in New York City (NY Sex Offender Registry, @NYPDnews, and @GovKathyHochul/Twitter)
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BRONX, NEW YORK CITY: Bui Van Phu, 55, a New York City registered sex offender on lifetime probation, who savagely attacked a man and left him in a coma, was permitted to walk straight out of Bronx Criminal Court on supervised probation without bail Thursday, August 17 afternoon, after appearing before a judge and being remanded on third-degree assault and second-degree harassment.

Phu was initially arrested on Wednesday, August 16, 2022. However, on Thursday, August 17, he was released by Bronx District Attorney who charged Phu with misdemeanor charges. New York Gov Kathy Hochul ordered his arrest again and questioned the Bronx District Attorney's office for only charging him with misdemeanors while his victim was in a coma. After the attack a week ago, the victim, Jesus Cortes, suffered a fractured skull and a brain bleed. He is now in a coma after undergoing brain surgery.

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Hochul remarked at a news conference on Long Island that her administration contacted "the Bronx District Attorney's Office to discuss the actual charges that were filed because... we want to make sure that our laws are being properly executed." "But I took action in my own hands," Hochul said, taking a victory lap in the midst of widespread criticism that she hasn't done enough to correct errors in the 2019 bail-reform statute and her recent refusal to grant Mayor Eric Adams' request to convene a related special session of the Legislature amid rising crimes in New York City, the New York Post reported. 

“I directed the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to immediately examine whether or not this parole violation occurred,” Hochul said. “Yes, it did. You could tell it occurred. “This is a person on lifetime parole, and as of minutes ago, that person is now in custody. That is at my direction,” she said. 

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Meanwhile, in a statement, the DOCCS said Bui was ordered “to report to his parole officer this morning” and “was taken into custody on a non-technical DOCCS warrant without incident.” He is being held on Rikers Island pending a hearing, which according to state law must be held "before a Bronx judge within the next 24 hours," according to the DOCCS.

The victim's younger brother Juan Cortes, 49, broke down in tears after being informed that Phu was back released while visiting her brother in the hospital. Juan sobbed for nearly two minutes. “Thank God, first,” he said. “Thank God for the governor. Now [Bui] is in jail he can’t hurt anyone else. He is not supposed to be in the community, not just for us but all the families that live around here and the kids. They gonna feel comfortable now with this type of person in jail. Now he is in the right place, jail. He has to be in the inferno. They gonna feel comfortable now with this type of person in jail. We want him behind bars and to do time – not like five years, more than that.”

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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a press conference at the New York State Capitol on August 11, 2021 in Albany City. Lt. Gov. and incoming NY Gov. Kathy Hochul gave her first press conference after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he will be resigning following the release of a report by the New York State Attorney General Letitia James, that concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed nearly a dozen women. Hochul will be New York's first woman governor.
Kathy Hochul questioned the Bronx District Attorney's office about why the suspect was charged with misdemeanors while his victim was in a coma (Michael M Santiago/Getty Images)

Hochul's Republican gubernatorial opponent in November, US Rep Lee Zeldin (R-Long Island), called Hochul's efforts to imprison Phu "less than the acceptable minimum." “I actually don’t know of a single governor in the entire union, across the country, who in this case wouldn’t at the bare minimum see a clear-as-day parole violation,” he said during a news conference at the scene of the attack. “What we need to see is calling the legislature back into session for a special session to deal with cashless bail.”

According to the state sex-offender records, Phu was previously convicted of first-degree sexual abuse for an armed attack on a 17-year-old girl in the Bronx in 1994. According to a DOCCS spokesperson, Phu, a Vietnamese refugee, was sentenced to six years to life in prison and denied parole several times before being released to immigration authorities in January 2015. He was returned to jail three months later and released on parole in March 2019.

Phu was caught on video on August 12, 2022, pulling on work gloves before allegedly sneaking up behind Cortes and sheathing him with a violent punch to the head outside the Fuego Tipico Restaurant on East 188th Street near the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Phu had last reported to his parole officer on August 10 for a scheduled meeting. On August 16,  his parole officer received a call from the NYPD regarding the attack on Cortes, according to sources, and the same day Phu allegedly called his parole officer and said, "I'm in trouble." “I hit someone and he’s in the hospital. I don’t know if he’s dead,” the suspect allegedly said.

“The police are looking for me, I was at the restaurant, and I know the police are looking for me,” Bui added, according to the criminal complaint against him. According to sources, parole officers searched for Bui at a Bronx homeless shelter where he lived as well as a nail salon where he worked, both of which were near the scene of the attack. Phu was arrested at an undisclosed location by the NYPD at 10.15 am. 

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the under-fire Bronx DA’s Office said it was “obtaining additional evidence, reviewing video, speaking to witnesses, analyzing medical records and providing crime victim services” as part of an ongoing investigation. “As the investigation continues, it will be determined if elevated charges will be brought against the defendant,” the DA’s Office added.

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