The case of the State of New Jersey vs. Michael Yakubov, which was scheduled to have a first hearing today in Roselle Park, was allowed a change of venue. The matter will now be heard in Kenilworth with its first court date scheduled to be Tuesday, November 25th, at 9 in the morning. Mr. Yakubov was a candidate for Roselle Park mayor and is the current 5th Ward Councilman for the borough.
Stemming from the arrest of Mr. Yakubov on Saturday, October 25th, for allegedly stealing a campaign sign belonging to his mayoral candidate opponent Carl Hokanson, the arrest became a political issue in the days running up to the election this past Tuesday, where Mr. Hokanson won in his bid for Roselle Park Mayor.
Allegations from both campaigns as well as voters ranged from accusing the police of targeting Mr. Yakubov at the behest of Mr. Hokanson – a former Roselle Park Police Officer – to blaming Michael Yakubov for the stealing of other campaign signs throughout the borough to calling into question the personal conduct of both candidates. The issue was even brought up at a mayoral debate when Mr. Yakubov opened with admitting that he took a sign and explained his version of the events. He added in his opening statement at the October 29th debate that no charges were filed against him.
The hearing three weeks from now will allow Mr. Yakubov to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty for one charge of Theft (2C:20-3) and one charge of Criminal Mischief (2C:17-3).