WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Dr. Felix Roque and his son, Joseph, a college student, were arrested at the family home Thursday, both charged with hacking and disabling a website that was pushing for the mayor’s recall, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney said.
Former opponents, including Gerald Lange, who lost the West New York mayoral election to Dr. Roque, came to court to stare him in the eye, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.
“Coming from a man who called me ‘pretty boy commissioner’ and to see him in shackles is pretty sad, and to put his son through it and bring his son down like him that is a sad testament for a father to face,” Lange said.
The mayor and his son’s court appearance was not without drama. An ambulance was called when his ex-wife passed out in the courtroom, and then got up saying “that’s my son.”
In court papers, investigators say Dr. Roque, 55, told them if he and his son did something wrong they should both go to jail and that “he was set financially and had ‘lived the dream,’” and would be okay serving time “because he would work out and read while there.”
“He has a very arrogant attitude. He thinks because he has money he can do whatever he wants,” Lange said.
There was anger outside federal court, but disappointment in the town of West New York, which sits on the cliffs of the Hudson River across from Midtown.
“You’re the one who should be in shackles and arrested. Are you kidding me?” former West New York police officer Rich Rivera said.
“He is a thug, a hoodlum with suit on. That’s what he is,” added resident Pedro Fuentes.
Others thought the allegations were nothing new in town.
“No, it doesn’t surprise me, not at all. This nothing new, especially in West New York,” one man told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney.
“I’ve seen a couple come and go in my past years,” another resident added.
Roque, a pain management doctor who’s traveled the world to help patients, ran on a promise of cleaning up corruption. Governor Chris Christie even supported him
Now, he and his son could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Attorneys representing Joseph and Felix Roque were not available for comment.
Roque is a Democrat who beat former Mayor Sal Vega in the city’s nonpartisan election on May 10.
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