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Ridgewood physician in explosives case goes before judge

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

A judge in Hackensack this morning ordered that a Ridgewood physician found with explosive chemicals and weapons in his house continue to be held on $1 million bail, with no 10 percent option.

  • YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: New details emerged today in the case of a Ridgewood physician found with explosive chemicals and weapons in his house, amid word that his license was temporarily suspended by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners. READ MORE….

Dressed in a jail-issue orange jumpsuit, 60-year-old Roberto Rivera didn’t have a lawyer with him during a brief hearing in the Bergen County Jail ( CLIFFVIEW PILOT STORY, PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia ) .

However, he told Central Municipal Court Judge Jae Y. Kim that he understood the charges against him. They include illegally having a destructive device, creating a risk of widespread injury or damage and possession of two assault firearms and a stun gun.

Central Municipal Court Judge Jae Y. Kim (STORY, PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia for CLIFFVIEW PILOT)

Authorities from several agencies found a “highly volatile chemical used for bomb-making” and several other precursor chemicals commonly used in the making of explosive devices,” along with assault rifles and other weapons, in Rivera’s apartment Friday night, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.

CLIFFVIEW PILOT reported exclusively that authorities feared domestic terrorism after Rivera confided to someone that he was concerned what effect a power outage from Hurricane Sandy would have on explosive chemicals he’d allegedly been refrigerating, according to a law enforcement source. SEE: Officials feared ‘domestic terrorism’ in Ridgewood explosives raid

This morning’s proceeding was held at a special courtroom in the jail annex, rather than at the county courthouse complex, parts of which sustained serious damage from Hurricane Sandy. Besides helping to reduce court backlogs, the courtroom makes processing much safer than having to transport a defendant.

Rivera told Kim during the barely-15-minute hearing that he hadn’t found an attorney yet.

“You may want to consider signing up at the public defender’s office until you can make arrangements,” the judge told him, while entering a not-guilty plea on Rivera’s behalf.

Kim continued Rivera’s bail at $1 million cash — meaning the entire amount must be posted, and not 10 percent, if he’s to be freed pending grand jury action.

He also told Rivera that he can request a bail reduction hearing, as well as a hearing challenging whether he should be prosecuted.

Kim then asked whether he had any questions.

Rivera said he didn’t.

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