Department of Justice asks to move public records case of Orlando 911 calls to federal court

Lawyers for news media organizations and attorneys for the city of Orlando and the U.S. Department of Justice are fighting over which court should determine whether 911 tapes from the Pulse nightclub shootings can be made public.

A hearing scheduled Tuesday in a Florida court was abruptly canceled after the U.S. Department of Justice was added to the case and Justice officials asked for it to be transferred to federal court.

Attorneys for almost two dozen new media organizations, including The Associated Press, say they are fighting to keep the case in state court.

The media groups contend Orlando officials are wrongly withholding recordings of 911 calls and communications between gunman Omar Mateen and the Orlando Police Department. Mateen was killed by police early June 12 after a shooting at the Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

City officials claim the recordings are exempt under Florida law and because they're part of an ongoing FBI investigation.

Associated Press

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette