(NewsNation) — Concerns about judicial security have arisen this week after the federal magistrate judge who approved the FBI search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate has received death threats.
Republicans were quick to criticize the record of Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who worked as a U.S. attorney in Florida until 2008. He quit that job to work as a defense attorney representing employees of Jefferey Epstein, which many attacks zeroed in on.
After working in private practice for 10 years, Reinhart was hired for his current post as a magistrate judge in 2018. Unlike district court judges who are appointed by the president, magistrate judges are hired by district judges to help with routine matters, such as determining whether law enforcement has established enough probable cause to issue a search warrant.
When he was assigned the case, he was simply doing his job, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas said Thursday on NewsNation’s “Dan Abrams Live.”
“Magistrate judges do not get to pick the cases they sit on,” Salas said. “They’re on duty, they get the case, they look at the law, they look at the facts and they do what they must do.”
Salas is no stranger to violence against judges. On July 19, 2020, a lawyer came to her home and shot and killed her son and wounded her husband. The man, Roy Den Hollander, had appeared before Salas in connection with a lawsuit he filed challenging the male-only draft.
In the wake of calls to investigate Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department, Democrats have sough to cast Republicans as being selective about supporting law enforcement.
It’s a troubling turn of events, Salas said. She called on everyone to tone down their rhetoric and stop fanning the flames of division.
“All Americans should be concerned about judicial security,” she said. “We’ve gotten to a place that we all need to just take a step back, take a breath and start thinking about the fact that words matter.”