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Justice Kavanaugh murder suspect pleads not guilty

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) —The suspect arrested in the attempted murder of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske, plead not guilty to a federal charge of attempted murder in court Wednesday.

Roske faces a federal charge of attempted murder after he was found carrying at least one weapon and threatening to kill Kavanaugh outside the justice’s home.

During the arraignment, Roske bowed his head and clasped his hands around his neck as he answered U.S. Magistrate Judge Ajmel Quereshi’s questions. His public defender, Andrew Szekely, told the judge that he was satisfied his client was getting the medical care and unspecified medication that he needs while in custody.

Quereshi set a tentative trial date for Aug. 23.

Police arrested the 26-year-old outside Kavanaugh’s home after he called 911 on himself — saying he was having suicidal thoughts and also planned to kill Kavanaugh, according to court documents. When police searched a backpack and suitcase he was carrying, they said they found a Glock 17 pistol, ammunition, a knife, zip ties, duct tape and other items Roske said he was going to use in the break-in. He said he bought the gun to kill Kavanaugh.

Roske said he was upset about the Supreme Court potentially overturning Roe v. Wade and by the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and believed Kavanaugh would vote to loosen gun control laws, according to documents filed in federal court in Maryland.

The arraignment comes a week after President Joe Biden signed a bill Thursday that will give around-the-clock security protection to the families of Supreme Court justices.

The bill calling for the expansion of security protections was approved unanimously by the Senate and passed shortly after the leak of a draft court opinion that would overrule Roe v. Wade and sharply curtail abortion rights in roughly half the states.

The Kavanaugh incident was not the first time a justice has been threatened. A man armed with a machete once broke into Stephen Breyer’s vacation home in the Caribbean and took $1,000. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had her purse snatched on a Washington street. David Souter was assaulted by several men while he was jogging.

Beyond the nation’s highest court, other judges have faced violence. Earlier this month, Wisconsin authorities said Douglas Uhde, 56, shot John Roemer, a former county judge, in a targeted attack against a judge who had once sentenced him to prison. Roemer was found zip-tied to a chair. Uhde had shot himself and later died.

In July 2020, lawyer Roy Den Hollander showed up at Judge Esther Salas’ home posing as a FedEx delivery person. Den Hollander fatally shot Salas’ 20-year-old son, Daniel Anderl, and wounded her husband, Mark Anderl. The judge was in another part of the home at the time and was not injured.

A separate bill, named in memory of Salas’ son, would provide more privacy and protection for all federal judges, including scrubbing personal information from the internet, to deal with mounting cyberthreats. The U.S. Marshals Service, which protects about 2,700 federal judges and thousands more prosecutors and court officials, said there were 4,511 threats and inappropriate communications in 2021, compared with 926 such incidents in 2015.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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