- A gunman reportedly dressed as a FedEx Employee fatally shot U.S. District Judge Esther Salas’ son and injured her husband in their New Jersey home Sunday. Salas was home in the basement at the time but was unharmed.
- Investigators searched for the shooter late Sunday and early Monday and later said a potential suspect in the case was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
- Salas has received threats in the past and has worked on several high profile cases, including one involving a Real Housewife and others related to big New Jersey gangs. Just last week, she was assigned to a Jeffrey Epstein-related lawsuit against Deutsche Bank.
- Authorities have not yet identified a motive, however, reports say the suspect was an attorney and self-described anti-feminist who brought a case before Judge Salas in 2015.
Shooting at Judge’s Home
After the son of a federal judge in New Jersey was shot and killed Sunday, authorities believe they may have identified a suspect in the shooting, who was also found dead.
A gunman appeared at U.S. District Judge Esther Salas’ house in North Brunswick, allegedly dressed as a FedEx delivery person. Salas’ 20-year-old son, Daniel, opened the door with his father, Mark Anderl behind him. The gunman then shot both of them, killing Daniel and injuring Mark. He fled the scene and the Newark division of the FBI said a search was underway Sunday evening.
On Monday morning, officials said a potential suspect tied to the case was found dead. According to NBC News in New York, officials found that an attorney believed to be the shooter in the case had died of a self-inflicted gun wound in the Catskills. Authorities are investigating whether or not a package addressed to Judge Salas is tied to this attorney.
That attorney was later identified as Roy Den Hollander, a self-described anti-feminist. He brought a case before Judge Salas in 2015.
Judge Salas’ High Profile Cases
Salas was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010 and was confirmed in 2011, making her New Jersey’s first Hispanic woman to serve as a U.S. District Judge. Since serving in this role, she has handled several high-profile cases, including one involving Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice and her husband Joe. She sentenced them both to staggered sentences on fraud charges.
She also handled cases involving members of the Grape Street Crips, which were in connection to a long-running drug trafficking network. In 2016 she sentenced a leader of the Grape Street Crips to 14 years in prison. She also sentenced a leader of the South Side Cartel, which has been described as one of the most violent gangs in Newark, to 45 years in prison.
Just last week, she was assigned to a lawsuit filed against Deutsche Bank by numerous investors. The lawsuit alleges that the bank “made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Bank’s business, operational and compliance policies.”
It also claims that the bank failed to properly monitor high risk customers, including Jeffrey Epstein.
Authorities have not identified a motive in this case, and are still looking into whether or not Salas herself may have been the target. According to ABC News, she has received threats in the past. Investigators are looking into whether or not those threats are tied to the shooting.
“As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any,” North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack told ABC.
Leaders in New Jersey responded to the news by sending condolences to Salas and her family. Governor Phil Murphy called the shooting a “senseless act.”
New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez said he hopes those responsible for this are “swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.”
See what others are saying: (NBC News) (ABC News) (Associated Press)
Update: This article was edited to include updated information about the suspect’s identity.
Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem
Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.
Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg
In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism.
Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.“
Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice
“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.“
According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject.
Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out.
Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.
See what others are saying: (New York Post) (The Daily Mail) (Insider)
Biden Administration Orders ICE To Halt Workplace Raids
The Department of Homeland Security will now focus on targeting employers who exploit undocumented workers, instead of carrying out raids that dissuade those workers from reporting labor violations.
DHS Reverses Worksite Raid Policy
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop workplace raids.
The move marks a reversal from Trump administration policies that have been strongly criticized by immigration activists who argue the efforts created fear in immigrant communities and dissuaded them from reporting labor violations or exploitative employment practices.
In addition to stopping the raids, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the administration will refocus enforcement efforts to instead target “employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.”
Mayorkas added that the immigration agencies housed in DHS will have the next 60 days to identify harmful existing policies and come up with new ones that provide better deportation protections for workers who report their employers.
In the Tuesday memo, the secretary argued that shift of focus will “reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers” and “increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigation.”
Labor Market Implications
The new policy comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a critical labor shortage, including in many sectors that rely on immigrant labor.
Some companies that use undocumented workers pay them wages that are far below the market rate, which is not only exploitative but also undercuts competitors.
According to Mayorkas, the pivot to employer-based enforcement will help protect American businesses.
“By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market,” he said in the memo. “They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law.”
It is currently unclear how effective the new efforts will be, but historical precedent does not paint an optimistic picture.
The Biden administration’s efforts closely mirror a similar move by the Obama administration, which attempted to reverse workplace raids authorized under President George W. Bush by targetting those who employ undocumented workers rather than the workers themselves.
That effort, however, still led to thousands of undocumented workers being fired.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (ABC News)
Mom Charged for Hosting Secret Teen Parties, Pressuring Kids To Drink and Engage in Sex Acts
Investigators said some of the sex acts between teens were non-consensual and at times took place while the mother stood by laughing.
Mother Hit With Dozens of Charges
A California mother is facing 39 criminal charges after hosting a series of illegal parties for her teenage son and his mostly 14- and 15-year-old friends that regularly led to dangerous accidents and sexual assaults.
The mother, 47-year-old Shannon O’Connor, also known as Shannon Bruga, is currently awaiting extradition to Santa Clara County. According to The Mercury News, she was arrested Saturday in Ada County, Idaho, where she has a home in addition to her property in Los Gatos that is currently on the market.
Her criminal charges include 12 felony counts and 10 misdemeanor counts of child endangerment, one count of misdemeanor sexual battery, three counts of misdemeanor child molestation, and 13 misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors.
“It took a lot of brave children to come forward and to untangle this deeply disturbing case,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a press release regarding the case. “As a parent, I’m shocked. As the DA, I’m determined to hold those adults who endanger children fully accountable to the law and our community.”
What Happened During the Parties?
Investigators claim O’Connor organized the functions, attended by as many as 20 teens, via text message and Snapchat. She would then allegedly supply the teens with alcohol and push them to binge drink, often to the point of illness or unconsciousness.
The harm that resulted from their intoxication included one teen breaking a finger and another almost drowning in a hot tub, among other serious situations.
In another instance, O’Connor let an unlicensed drunk teen drive her car. Her son and another one of his friends then hung off the back while it was moving, which caused the friend to fall, hit his head, and become unconscious for 30 seconds. He was later diagnosed with a concussion after spending the night vomiting.
O’Connor is additionally accused of manipulating and encouraging drunk teens to participate in sex acts with one another, which were sometimes non-consensual or carried out while she watched. In some cases, she allegedly laughed while the sexual acts happened or when assault victims asked her why she didn’t step in to help.
Investigators added that O’Connor required teens who attended her parties to keep them a secret. She’s even accused of helping them sneak out of their homes so she could drive them to her events. Authorities said she was found to have bullied at least one teen who she suspected of breaking the secret.
“Everyone should feel relieved this woman’s not on the street,” the parents of one assault victim told The Mercury News. “She was grooming these kids, setting them up for sexual acts, and she’s a mother and doing this to her own child. … I’ve been racking my brain trying to think what was in it for her.“