Prosecutors who lowered charges against a convicted sex offender after her alleged sucker punched a man in an unprovoked assault are now demanding that they be upgraded.
Jesus Cortes, 52, was left with a fractured skull and a brain hemorrhage after the attack by Van Phu Bui, 55, in the Bronx on Aug. 12.
Bui was initially released without bail by prosecutors, who reduced his charges to a felony after the terrifying attack was captured on video.
They claimed that the evidence at the time would only allow for the felony charges, despite the fact that the police released the surveillance footage.
But he was subsequently thrown in jail after New York Governor Kathy Hochul urged prosecutors to raise charges against him.
She claimed the attack and arrest were a violation of his life parole for the sexual conviction.
Now the Bronx District Attorney’s Office is asking a grand jury to upgrade his charge to a felony of attempted murder.
Van Phu Bui, 55, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, but the DA later filed charges. He has now whined that he shouldn’t be in jail because Jesus Cortes survived the attack
Jesus Cortes, 52, (left) suffered a skull fracture and brain haemorrhage after the attack by Van Phu Bui, 55, (right) earlier this year
It would mean that Bui would remain behind bars and that any jail term, if convicted, could be extended.
Bui appeared in court yesterday, with the DA telling the judge they wanted to ask a grand jury to raise the charges against him, according to the New York Post.
It’s not clear exactly what the charges would be, or how many crimes Bui could face.
The Bronx DA’s office did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Bui refuses to testify, and a grand jury is reportedly considering the new, improved charges against him.
Casey Trimbl, of the Legal Aid Association, is representing Bui and opposing prosecutors’ request to change the victim’s protection order.
Prosecutors want to forbid him from talking to Cortes’ family, who live in the same area.
Judge Srividya Pappachan left the protection order alone for Cortes, while his brother Juan wept in court when he heard the decision.
Gruesome surveillance video captures the moment Bui donned a pair of gloves and waved with great force, hitting the victim in the back of the head.
He then immediately falls to the ground, appears unconscious and bangs his head on the concrete after the sudden attack.
The NYPD claims he punched the victim in the face “without prior conversation or altercation,” before “returning to the restaurant and later to unknown areas.”
Bui was convicted in 1991 of attempted robbery and is a registered sex offender — who was paroled after being convicted on December 24, 1994, of raping a 17-year-old girl at gunpoint. He was released from prison in March 2019
He was allowed to walk straight out of the Bronx Criminal Court on bail without bail after appearing before a judge where he was charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment.
Bui moaned to the New York Post that he couldn’t remember anything about the attack and said he “had a blackout.”
He said, ‘He’s alive. He’s not dead. I thank God he survived. I didn’t want to hurt him so much. I only hit him once.
‘I can’t really remember anything. I was so angry. I’ve never done anything like this. That was my first time.
‘I am not a violent person. I’m not like that. I wouldn’t do it again. My apologies. I know I’ve done something wrong. That’s why I turned myself in.
“The judge told me not to talk to him and to stay away from him, but if I could see him I would apologize and tell him I’m sorry. If he wants me to pay for medical care, I don’t mind paying his medical (bills).’
Bui was called an “imminent threat to the community” on Saturday during a parole hearing after New York Governor Kathy Hochul ordered him to be returned to prison.
His probation officer, Nixa Rivera, spoke at his hearing: “Mr. Bui is a 55-year-old man with an ongoing history of violent crime.
‘Mr. Bui is a registered sex offender level three, the highest level in the sex offender registry. Mr. Bui continues to pose an immediate threat to the community.”
Rivera added that Bui has been living in a shelter for six years and has no apparent family or community ties.
His only job for the past two years has been working the cash register of a nail salon.
Shortly before the attack, Bui positions himself behind his victim, before sending a vicious blow to a group of other people outside the restaurant.
Bui was called an “imminent threat to the community” during a parole hearing on Saturday after New York Governor Kathy Hochul ordered him to be returned to prison.
Cortes’ brother Juan Cortes told DailyMail.com that his brother is recovering and has been taken off a ventilator
Juan Cortes called Bui a “bad person” and said the crime charges should have been there from the start.
Court records obtained by DailyMail.com indicate that the lower charges were filed because Bui “deliberately (caused) bodily harm and with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person.”
Bui was convicted of attempted robbery in 1991 and is a registered sex offender — who was on parole after being convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl at gunpoint on Christmas Eve 1994. He was released from prison in March 2019.
In horrifying footage released by the NYPD, Bui is seen walking out of the Fuego Tipico restaurant in the Bronx and donning a pair of gloves.
He is then seen hitting the victim in the back of the head with great force. The victim was found unconscious on the ground after the unprovoked attack and was rushed to hospital.
In a conversation with Bui’s probation officer, documented by the court, he talks about the incident: ‘I’m in trouble. I hit someone and he’s in the hospital.
‘I don’t know if he’s dead. The police are looking for me. I was at the restaurant and I know the police are looking for me.’