Although District Court Judge Kevin McNulty originally estimated the case would take 10 days to hear, some aspects of the case went more quickly than anticipated. Jury selection, which started on Sept. 12, took only one day, allowing both sides to present opening arguments on Sept. 13.
Federal prosecutors allege that Joseph Roque hacked into a website run by Freeholder Jose Munoz on Feb. 8, 2012, and used the site to gain access to information about people opposed to Roque. The mayor has been accused of conspiring with his son and additionally has been accused of attempting to intimidate people associated with the website.
The indictment said there were five victims, two of whom testified on Sept. 19, saying they had felt threatened. But the defense appears to have made the case that some of what was thought to be intimidation may have actually been legitimate government communication.
Prosecutors brought in experts from Google internet search network to show that Joseph had sought out information on how to hack into the website and its associated emails, and that Joseph had allegedly used his smart phone to do so.
The prosecutors are seeking to prove that Joseph Roque operated with Mayor Roque’s consent and updated the mayor on the hacking.
John Azzarello, Joseph’s attorney, denied that Joseph and Mayor Roque conspired, and said no harassment had taken place.
Azzarello described the mayor as being attacked by political sharks and said Joseph was simply trying to find out who behind the website attacks. The defense appears to be making a case that Mayor Roque found out about the hacking and scolded his son for the actions.
The proceedings have revealed several key factors not previously known, such as the fact that Munoz, prior to the website being hacked, was working as an informant for the FBI on other cases. The judge ruled that information related to those other cases would not be revealed in this trial.
For more on this story, come back to hudsonreporter.com starting Sunday, and scroll down for news from West New York.