Thursday, July 23, 2020

Alleged gunman in shooting at New Jersey home of federal judge Esther Salas had connections to Russia and left a string of pro-Donald Trump writings

U.S. Judge Esther Salas

The alleged gunman in the shooting of a federal judge's family -- killing her son and critically injuring her husband -- had ties to Russia and left an extensive string of pro-Trump writings, according to a number of reports. Roy Den Hollander, described as an "anti-feminist" lawyer, now is considered a suspect in the recent murder of another men's-rights activistFrom an article at The Atlantic:

Roy Den Hollander, the self-described “anti-feminist” attorney who authorities say is the chief suspect in the shootings of the son and the husband of a federal judge in New Jersey, attacked that judge by name in misogynistic, racist writings he wrote over a period of years and posted in bulk on the Internet Archive. Den Hollander, who describes himself as a Trump volunteer in his writings, called the judge an “affirmative action” case who affiliated with those who wanted “to convince America that whites, especially white males, were barbarians, and all those of a darker skin complexion were victims.”

Esther Salas’s 20-year-old son was killed in the attack at their home on Sunday, and her husband was wounded. Den Hollander was later found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Rockland, New York. Den Hollander’s insults toward Salas were included in a 2,028-page collection of writings he posted online in 2019 under the username Roy17den, a handle that mirrored his Twitter account, @roy17den, and the email address he used both in personal letters and in court filings.

“Female judges didn’t bother me as long as they were middle age or older black ladies,” he writes when discussing a lawsuit he filed that went before Judge Salas, the first Hispanic woman appointed a federal judge in New Jersey. “They seemed to have an understanding of how life worked and were not about to be conned by any foot dragging lawyer. Latinas, however, were usually a problem—driven by an inferiority complex.”

Den Hollander wrote a number of political pieces, which tended to be highly critical of Democrats (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama) and glowing about Republicans (Donald Trump):

Along with the attacks on Salas, Den Hollander’s writings also go after President Barack Obama (who he said has an “obsession to turn America into a banana republic”), Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (who he claimed was “angry that nobody had invited her to her high school senior prom”), Hillary Clinton (whose supporters were “teary-eyed, sad-sack, PC loonies watching their power of intolerance go down the drain”), and an Obama appointee (whom he describes as part of “that Orwellian party of feminists, ethnics, Muslims, illegals and queers who think they are superior to everyone else, especially white males.”)

In contrast, he writes in the same sprawling document that he was a volunteer for the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who he said “was telling the truth about illegal aliens in his bid for the Presidency.” Den Hollander describes “leaving the law library in the early afternoon for Trump Tower, 12 blocks up Fifth Avenue, to make telephone calls during the primaries and the general election.” Recounting his time working for the campaign, he says most of his fellow volunteers “were aging baby boomers like me."

Den Hollander's legal work often reeked of hatred for women:

Den Hollander, who was 72, held deeply misogynistic beliefs about women and filed a series of lawsuits against what he considered unfair advantages they had over men. One of those suits, in which he argued that it was unconstitutional for women not to be subject to military draft, reached Salas’s court in 2019. Salas did not throw out the suit, as many of Den Hollander’s previous cases had been. She instead allowed the lawsuit to proceed through the court system. But Den Hollander was upset by what he considered to be Salas’s delaying of the case. He complained that she allowed the Department of Justice to file its fourth motion to dismiss the case, suggesting she was “trying to keep this case in her court until a weatherman showed her which way the legal winds were blowing.”

“Salas clearly wanted to further her career by moving up the judicial ladder to the Court of Appeals or maybe even the Supreme Court,” he writes. “After all, there was now a Latina seat in the form of Sotomayor on the Court.”

Judge Salas came from a disadvantaged background. She is the daughter of a Cuban immigrant; her home burned down when she was 10, and her family lost everything. Salas eventually earned her bachelor’s and law degrees from Rutgers University, became a public defender, and was elected president of New Jersey’s Hispanic Bar Association. “For this little girl from Union City to grow up and become a U.S. District Judge—it’s beyond words,” she told a local reporter after she became a federal judge in 2006.

Den Hollander, who turned his hatred of women into a string of media appearances over more than a decade, saw Salas’s biography differently. “It was the usual effort to blame a man and turn someone into super girl—daddy abandoned us, we were indigent, which means they lived off of the taxpayer, but we overcame all odds,” he writes in one of the documents posted online last year. He describes Salas’s decade as a public defender as “representing lumpen proletariat ne’er-do-wells.” Her “one accomplishment,” he says, was being a high-school cheerleader.

He also attacks Justice Sotomayor, saying she was “52 years old, prime age for a Feminazi.” His voluminous writings—more than 10,000 pages of PDFs—show a deep sense of grievance against women, especially his mother, who he claims told him, at age 4, “I wish I had listened to your father and never had you!” He calls her a witch, a “Nazi loon,” and “another malevolent female.” He also describes kissing girls in third grade frequently enough that their parents complained to their teacher. The document, one of several he uploaded to the Internet Archive, is a disturbing but by now common coda to high-profile incidents of gun violence: the suspected shooter leaving a trail of arguments and anger in random corners of the web. Many of them involve a hatred of women and people of color, and connect broad claims about the world with very personal claims of grievance.

“All my life I saw other people, even strangers in the street, as potential enemies with whom conflict seemed more likely than cooperation,” he writes. “I understood that, except for my few friends, I didn’t like people because they scared me; and when someone is afraid, he hates others for causing him the humiliation and himself for allowing it. But where did this ever-present fear come from—my genes or the way my mother raised me? I opted for the culpability of my mother with some assistance from my father.”

Den Hollander claimed to have married a Russian woman, and that ended badly:

He also writes viciously about a Russian woman he says he married, calling her a “mafia prostitute.” Den Hollander writes at length about the time he spent living in Russia, including time he says he spent working for Kroll Associates. At one point, he describes difficulties he said he was having with the U.S. government, claiming it had “confiscated” his U.S. citizenship. “Boy, was I glad I didn’t vote for Obama—wrote-in Putin instead,” he writes.

“Perhaps the Violence Against Women’s Act could get my citizenship back,” he added. “All I’d have to do is date an American girl then accuse her of abuse.”

Some of his interest in Russia is clearly tied to his support of the president. On the question of meddling in the 2016 election, he writes that, during the debate over Clinton’s email server, he had “what I thought was a great idea to help Trump.” If Russian intelligence had hacked the server, he would try to use an old Russian contact to dig up her emails. “So I contacted a GRU buddy requesting a few copies of the bleached or classified emails, if they had them. Telling him, I’d make them public through my media contacts.” His contact, he claims, said that GRU didn’t have the emails, which he took as a sign that “they did not hack the server or they wanted Hillary to win.”

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