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A year later, Pulse legal battles continue in state, federal courts

Naples Daily News
A year after the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history, legal battles continue in state and federal courtrooms stemming from the attack at the Pulse nightclub.

Gunman Omar Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, was arrested in California in January on federal charges of providing material support for terrorists and tampering with or destroying records and documents. U.S. Marshals transported her to an undisclosed Florida location in April.

Last month, a federal appeals court panel ruled Salman should remain behind bars until her trial next year.

In March, a Chicago law firm representing at least 60 Pulse victims and family members of the dead sued Salman and Mateen’s employer, G4S Security Solutions.

The lawsuit, originally filed in federal court but moved to Palm Beach County Circuit Court, claims Mateen’s employer and his wife “could have and should have” stopped the attack.

The lawsuit is seeking an undisclosed amount of money. Antonio Romanucci, the lead attorney in the suit, said the motive is to “seek justice.”

“I’m in this to make global change,” Romanucci said. “I’m really tired of hearing the terms ‘mass shooting,’ ‘massacre,’ ‘mass deaths.’ ”

At the time of the shooting, Mateen was employed as a security guard by G4S, an international security firm. In the years prior to the shooting, he bragged to co-workers about having connections to terror groups and associations with terrorists, according to the lawsuit.  

Despite knowing that Mateen was being investigated by the FBI, G4S continued to employ him and didn’t require a new psychological evaluation to determine if he was fit for duty, the lawsuit says. The company also failed to recommend the state withdraw Mateen’s gun license, despite reports from his coworkers that he had “constant anger” and “talked about killing people,” according to the lawsuit.

In a prepared statement, G4S said while the company has “the deepest sympathy” for the victims, friends and families of those affected by the Pulse shooting, it considers the lawsuit without merit.

“The facts demonstrate that G4S’s actions did not in any way contribute to the shooting,” the company said.

The lawsuit also accuses Salman of assisting her husband with the attack by helping him purchase guns and ammunition, conduct surveillance of Pulse and plan the shooting.

“More than anything, that lawsuit against her … is to prevent her from profiting in any way — memoir, book, movie rights — anything of that nature,” Romanucci said. “Do we really expect to gain anything from her? Probably not.”

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