July 20, 2020

UPDATE via ABC News:

The suspect was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound near Campsite Road and Berry Brook Road in Sullivan County, the sources said. A municipal employee discovered the body in a car.

The deceased suspect was an attorney who, sources said, had a case before Judge Salas in 2015.

A FedEx package addressed to Judge Salas was discovered in the car, sources said.

"As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any," said Womack, who is personal friends with the judge and her husband.

*********

It's always shocking when there's an attack on the home of a judge, because it's also an attack on our justice system.

The 20-year-old son of U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas, Daniel Anderl, was killed and her husband, Mark Anderl, a criminal defense attorney and former assistant Essex County prosecutor, underwent surgery and is in critical but stable condition, after a shooting attack at her home last night. The gunman was dressed in a FedEx uniform.

CNN brought on former FBI chief Andrew McCabe to talk about the next steps in an investigation.

He called it "an incredibly serious and troubling act."

"It's kind of the worst nightmare anyone can imagine, right. You hear your doorbell go off. People in the house run to the door to answer it, and of course, this horrible attack as a result. So the FBI, I'm sure, is working -- this is an all hands on deck issue. There are very few things that are as serious to the FBI and to the Department of Justice than an attack on a federal judge."

He said such attacks were very rare, but when it does happen, they will be looking at every potential contact with the judge and her family. "They'll be trying to figure out who's been communicating with them, who might have been near them in the days and weeks leading up to this act. They'll be looking at -- no doubt looking at video coverage that might be present in the area. So many people have external video cameras on their homes these days. That can typically be a good source of information about individuals or vehicles that have been in the area. There's just a thousand different leads that they are looking at right now," he said.

John Berman asked what sorts of things could be behind the attack.

"John, there's an enormous spectrum of possible players here and people who could have been motivated by the judge -- current cases that are before the judge, past cases that she had been involved in or decided or influenced sentencing, things of that nature. Appeals that come to the judge from people from past cases or from other judges that she might be -- that she might have decided in a way that could have provoked some, you know, anger and response," McCabe said.

"But that's just the judge. You have to then think about her husband, who is a criminal defense attorney, who unfortunately in that respectable line of work, you run across, often, some dangerous people, some people who are unsatisfied or unhappy with the way their own criminal situations have concluded. So there's the same broad, broad scope of individuals who could possibly have wanted to bring harm to the judge or her husband or their son for that matter. So it's just an enormous, enormous range of people who could be potential subjects here."

"I mean, look. The details are very scant," Alysin Camerota said. "We don't know anything other than what Brynn just reported at the moment. but anytime you hear the name Jeffrey Epstein, obviously, it gets people's attention. So if there was some sort of link between Deutsche Bank and Epstein as a client of some kind, there's just -- I can't even fathom the level of investigation that FBI agents are going to have to dig into with all of those different tentacles."

McCabe agreed, but said you can't make assumptions about likely suspects.

"You've really got to take a look at the evidence that's left behind at the scene to start to draw you to specific individuals. So that's going to be surveillance, that's going to be vehicles that may have been encountered by the police in that area or seen or reported on by neighbors in the days and weeks leading up to this. It is likely that whoever was involved in this activity was probably at the judge's house on prior occasions, either just conducting surveillance or kind of test run, sorts of things. So the fact that someone may have seen something relevant to this crime is, I'm sure, first of mind for the folks that are investigating it."

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