Jersey Journal: West New York mayor, son plead not guilty at federal arraignment
Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal
NEWARK — With a couple dozen supporters looking on, the mayor of West New York and his son pleaded not guilty this morning in federal court to three counts of hacking a website that aimed to recall the mayor.
Dr. Felix Roque, 55, and his 22-year-old son Joseph, made their first appearance on the charges after they were indicted on Aug. 10. Roque and his son were arrested on May 24, after numerous visits by federal agents to West New York and an equal number of vehement denials by Roque that their presence in town had anything to do with him.
After the hearing Roque’s supporters hung a banner outside the courthouse that read “Amigo … el pueblo esta contigo” – which means “friend …. the town is with you.”
According to the sequence of events presented in the indictment, Joseph Roque was able to access the e-mail account of the creator of http://www.recallroque.com and ask Go Daddy, the Internet service provider hosting the website, to shut it down.
West New York Freeholder Jose Munoz has acknowledged that he established the anti-Roque website, which only operated for a few days in February before Joseph Roque allegedly took it down.
This morning in court, Roque’s attorney, Bryan Blaney, said that the case against the two men may be politically motivated.
Roque made some waves earlier this year when he endorsed Republican state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democrat and former Union City Mayor Robert Menendez. He later rescinded the endorsement and is now backing Menendez.
sources: The Jersey Journal/The Star Ledger