In a murder that has shocked the nation, the son of federal judge Esther Salas was killed and her husband wounded in their home in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Daniel Anderl, 20, was a student at Catholic University with hopes to go to law school. His father is a criminal defense attorney. Such attacks on federal judges are thankfully rare and there is much speculation about high-profile cases that Judge Salas has handled or taken on recently, including a lawsuit related to Jeffrey Epstein and another past case involving “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice. While the crime had the markings of premeditation and even professional elements, police are looking into a body found after the shooting as possibly linked. The apparent suicide in another town involved a lawyer who was being contacted reportedly about a connection to the gun recovered near the scene.
Unlike many former prosecutors serving on the federal bench, Judge Salas was a former public defender – a welcomed addition for many in the criminal defense bar. She was also the first Latina woman to serve on New Jersey’s federal bench. She was appointed a federal magistrate by President Barack Obama.
Her husband, Mark Anderl, was repeatedly shot but survived. He is a criminal defense attorney. Judge Salas was reportedly in the basement at the time of the shooting by an individual disguised as a FedEx driver.
Their only son was studying Pre-law philosophy at CUA. He was shot through the heart immediately after opening the door.
I find the speculation about the connection to the Epstein case to be highly unlikely. There is no rationale reason to kill a magistrate assigned to such a case involving Deutsche Bank investors claiming that the company failed to monitor “high-risk” customers like Epstein. She just received the case. What possible advantage would be gained from such a crime in the Epstein case? If this was a hit on the judge, it would seem more likely tied to a past case. If it was a hit, the hitman appeared to panic after shooting the son and father.
This type of loss is unimaginable and left many of us shaken this morning. This young man was working hard for his future in the law and making a difference in society. Hopefully the federal agents will track down this killer but there is nothing that can make parents hole after such a senseless tragedy. Thankfully, Mark appears stable despite such serious wounds.