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Legal Battle Over Pulse Shooting Records Moves To Federal Court

Orlando City Hall. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The lawsuit between the City of Orlando and several media outlets has been moved over to federal court.

The city and the media are in a legal tug-of-war over 911 calls made during the Pulse nightclub shooting and other communication. The city has said it wants to be transparent, but the FBI doesn’t want the records released while it’s still investigating the shooting.

City Attorney Jason Zimmerman said Orlando’s wedged between the FBI’s investigation and the media’s demands for public records.

“The City of Orlando is caught between a rock and a hard space,” said Zimmerman. “So we amended the complaint to include the Department of Justice to give them the opportunity to be heard, and there’s a statute that if the Department of Justice is named in a suit, they can remove it to federal court.”

But the attorney representing the media, Rachel Fugate, said this case has no business in federal court.

“We do not think that there is a basis for jurisdiction in federal court,” said Fugate. “There really is no federal question. This is a matter of access to state records. It is a state agency’s obligation to assert exemptions and nobody can do that on their behalf.”

The city released a trove of documents delivering more details of the June 12th shooting when a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others.

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About Catherine Welch

Catherine Welch