The court fight has begun between nearly two dozen news organizations and the now U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)-backed city of Orlando over whether the recordings of the 911 calls linked to the terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub in Florida can be made public.
Judge Margaret Schreiber of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida was expected to preside over the first hearing Tuesday.
However, it was abruptly canceled after President Barack Obama’s DOJ was added to the case and requested that the case be transferred to a federal court.
Attorneys for the news media organizations have reportedly indicated that they will fight to keep the case in state court.
“Orlando police dispatchers heard repeated gunfire, screaming and moaning from patrons of the Pulse nightclub who called to a report that gunman Omar Mateen was opening fire inside the club,” reports the Associated Press (AP). “A written report on the 911 calls that came into police dispatchers on June 12 from the gay nightclub was released Tuesday.”
AP, CNN, and the New York Times are among the media companies suing to hear the 911 calls from the June 12 massacre at the hands of jihadist Omar Mateen in which 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police. The assault has been deemed the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
WESH-TV Orlando reports that “the media lawsuit contends city officials are wrongly withholding recordings of 911 calls and communications between gunman Omar Mateen and the Orlando Police Department.”
Orlando officials reportedly claim the recordings are exempt under Florida law.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration released a redacted and adulterated transcript of the 50-second 911 call Mateen made on the night of the massacre, in which he claimed responsibility for the terror attack and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
Under pressure, Obama’s DOJ had a change of heart and released an uncensored transcript of the Orlando terrorist’s call.
“The only complete transcript released was of the 911 calls,” notes Fox News. “Several calls made later to crisis negotiators were only released in summarized form with few direct quotes provided.”
Mateen reportedly spoke to negotiators at least three times.
“After a morning of outrage and controversy over its announced decision to scrub references to ISIS and Islam from jihadi Omar Mateen’s 911 call, what the Obama administration actually released is not an edited transcript,” reports Breitbart News’s John Hayward. “It is pure fantasy, an act of Stalinist censorship with only the most distant relationship to what Mateen actually said.”