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Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam found dead near Hudson River likely committed suicide, police say
Thomas Tracy Apr-13-2017 168 0


The pioneering judge found dead on the banks of the Hudson River was struggling with depression and likely took her own life, a police source said Thursday.

It was unclear if state Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam left behind a suicide note, and cops were awaiting the results of an autopsy before saying anything more, the source told the Daily News.

There were no signs of trauma or injuries indicating a more sinister demise when her fully-clothed body was found Wednesday afternoon near W. 132nd St. — about a mile from her Harlem home.

The 65-year-old Abdus-Salaam, hailed as the nation’s first female Muslim judge and the first black woman appointed to the state’s highest court, was reported missing by her husband on Tuesday morning.

The shocking disappearance and discovery of her body rattled her many friends and colleagues across the state.

“I just saw her on the subway the other day,” said former Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright. “She was always a very calming, beautiful presence ... She became one of the brightest and most respected legal minds in the U.S.”

Abdus-Salaam was nominated by Gov. Cuomo in 2013 for a seat on the state’s Court of Appeals, the high point of a legal career that began with her Columbia University School of Law degree.

Among her classmates: Future U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

She served as a Manhattan Supreme Court judge for 14 years before Cuomo’s promotion. The governor praised Abdus-Salaam for her “unshakable moral compass.”

Harlem neighbor Pat Miller, 56, couldn’t accept the idea that Abdus-Salaam took her own life.

“I could not imagine her doing anything to herself to harm herself," he said. She’s not that type of person ... I’d like to know what happened. I would really like to know.”

   
     

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