Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera was reportedly “very, very upset” about the arrest of his son Cruz Rivera Tuesday on suspicion of viciously biting his estranged girlfriend and choking her nearly to unconsciousness
“Obviously, the fact that (Rivera) reached out to me shows he is supporting his son, but he is quite troubled by the accusations of domestic violence, because nobody takes domestic violence lightly,” New York attorney Arthur Aidala and former Fox News legal analyst told both the Daily News and the New York Post.
Then again, Aidala also said Rivera isn’t “angry” with his 30-year-old son. He’s “disappointed” and “disturbed” by the allegations but “he supports him 100 percent,” Aidala said.
Aidala’s remarks to reporters came in response to the younger Rivera appearing in a Manhattan courtroom Wednesday, where he was arraigned on charges of assault, criminal obstruction of breathing, aggravated harassment, attempted assault and harassment.
Cruz Rivera was arrested Tuesday after his roommate called 911 to report that he had attacked Meghan Burke, the Daily News reported.
Burke had come to his Washington Heights apartment to retrieve some of her belongings; she had recently ended what her mother and police described as a turbulent, nine-year relationship, the Daily News and Post reported.
Cruz Rivera, whom Burke’s mother described as “a sociopath,” apparently didn’t want to let her go easily.
Rivera threw Burke down on his bed, wrapped both hands around her throat and began biting her hand and leg, police sources told the Daily News.
In addition to Rivera’s roomate calling 911, a neighbor described to police hearing a loud argument followed by a woman screaming.
According to the criminal complaint, Cruz Rivera wrapped his arm around Burke’s neck and squeezed until she “experience(d) trouble breathing and (began) to feel like she was losing consciousness.” Rivera then shoved a disoriented Burke to the ground, according to the complaint.
During his court appearance Wednesday, Cruz Rivera pleaded not guilty. A judge agreed to release him without his having to post bail, despite the fact that he is facing half a dozen charges.
Aidala noted that Cruz Rivera has no criminal record and said the actions he’s accused of are “not consistent with the young man the Rivera family loves and supports.”
Aidala also said the breakup between his client and Burke was amicable and even suggested there won’t be a prosecution. He said Burke had texted Cruz Rivera to say she doesn’t want to press charges.
“I love you,” she reportedly texted. “I’m sorry about all this.”
But others, including Cruz Rivera himself, offered a different view of whether the alleged assault was “not consistent with the young man the Rivera family loves and supports.”
In leaving the courtroom, Cruz Rivera quipped to reporters, somewhat arrogantly, according to reports, “I hope I look good, guys.”
Police sources told the New York Post that Cruz had previously abused Burke, and she broke up with him rather than report it.
Burke’s mother also lashed into Geraldo Rivera’s son, calling him “insane,” “a sociopath,” and “a real manipulator,” the Daily News reported.
Burke and Cruz Rivera met in 2009, when she was a freshman at SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx. Burke stayed with Rivera, even though he had three children with another woman, all born while he was dating Burke, the mother said. Cruz Rivera also eventually dropped out of college and didn’t return, the mother said.
The mother added that their family had tried to counsel Burke against staying in a relationship with him. “He’s not a good guy,” the mother told the Daily News.
Perhaps related to Cruz Rivera’s current situation, he last month posted a video on Facebook from a UK nonprofit that supports male victims of domestic violence. The video claims that “40 percent of domestic violence is suffered by men.”
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