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Federal Judge Esther Salas Releases Emotional Video About Lethal Attack On Family

TOPLINE

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas broke her silence Monday following the shooting at her New Jersey home July 19 that left her 20-year-old son dead and her husband in critical condition, and pleaded for ways to keep federal judges and their families safe.

KEY FACTS

Salas released her video statement earlier this morning:

“Two weeks ago, my life as I knew it changed in an instant, and my family will never be the same,” Salas says, adding, “A madman, who I believe was targeting me because of my position as a federal judge, came to my house.”

Salas then describes how her family had just wrapped up son Daniel Anderl’s 20th birthday celebrations when the doorbell rang, with Anderl running to answer the door.

“Within seconds, I heard the sound of bullets and someone screaming, ‘No!’” Salas said, her voice catching and seeming to fight back tears.

Salas said Anderl took a bullet to the chest in order to protect his father, Mark Anderl, who was shot in the chest, abdomen and right forearm, and is still recovering in the hospital as of Monday.

The shooter—who Salas only referred to as a “monster”—is believed to be “anti-feminist” lawyer, Roy Den Hollander, who participated in violent “men’s rights” discussions in online forums, and was found dead hours after the attack with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Salas pleaded for ways to keep judges and their families safe and to prevent another such attack from happening, saying it’s easy for people to obtain home addresses and other identifying information if they wish to inflict harm on officials. 

Crucial quote

“My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench…Now, more than ever, we need to identify a solution that keeps the lives of federal judges private,” Salas said in her video, adding, “This is a matter of life and death.”

Big number

Fourfold. That’s how much threats and “inappropriate comments” against federal court workers have increased since 2015, according to a U.S. Marshals Service report.

Key background

According to NPR, law enforcement officials believe Den Hollander was targeting Salas for not moving quickly enough on a case she was assigned that challenges the constitutionality of the male-only military draft. Den Hollander is believed to have shot and killed a rival men’s rights lawyer in San Bernardino, California, before traveling to Salas’ North Brunswick, New Jersey, home to attack her. In her video, Salas acknowledged that decisions made by judges would be criticized and make people unhappy, but pleaded for change to be made. “Let’s commence a national dialogue, let’s work collaboratively to find a solution that will safeguard the privacy of federal judges,” she said.

Tangent

Hours after the July 19 attack, conspiracies proliferated on social media claiming Salas was targeted for being assigned a case related to Jeffrey Epstein’s financial dealings with the embattled Deutsche Bank. New York Times investigative reporter David Enrich—who authored a book on Deutsche Bank’s ties to President Trump—tweeted July 21 that he had “no reason to suspect” Salas was targeted because of the Epstein case. “Salas is hearing a run-of-the-mill shareholder suit. It is based on damning facts that are *already public*,” Enrich wrote, adding that he couldn’t see a motive tied to the case. 

Further reading

Federal Judge Speaks Out About Deadly Attack On Her Family (NPR)

Judge Whose Son Was Killed by Misogynistic Lawyer Speaks Out (New York Times)

Suspect In Shooting Of Federal Judge Salas’ Family Found Dead (Forbes)

Feds Probe Possible Link Between Killing Of Judge’s Son And Slaying Of Another ‘Anti-Feminist’ Lawyer (Forbes)

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