Scroll To Top

The Insane Trial of the Pulse Shooter Widow Just Got Crazier

Laura Loomer at Pulse Trial

A right-wing "journalist" (pictured) disrupts Noor Salman's trial as it comes to a bumpy close.

A media personality previously linked to Project Veritas -- a conservative "gotcha" organization that tries to embarrass mainstream media -- lost her credentials to cover the trial of the Pulse shooter's widow Wednesday after harassing the defendant's family about Muslims coloring Easter eggs.

Laura Loomer, who claims to work with an outlet called Illuminate Media, had her credentials revoked shortly after she followed the family of Noor Salman into the parking lot after her questions incited a sudden end to a press conference. Loomer called the action political.

"U.S. District Judge Paul Byron issued a court order BANNING ME from the court as a member of the press and the public for the duration of the #NoorSalman trial," she wrote on Twitter. "This is purely political and it's an egregious violation of my 1A [First Amendment] rights."

The interactions that led to Loomer's ban started with a press conference held by Salman family spokeswoman Susan Clary. Salman stood trial in federal court in Orlando and could face life in prison if convicted of aiding and abetting a terrorist and obstructing justice. Prosecutors say Salman helped husband Omar Mateen come up with a cover story to tell family and lied to FBI investigators about the infamous June 12, 2016, shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

At the press conference, Clary said prosecutors had not proven Salman should be held responsible in any way for the shooting at Pulse and that FBI signed statements had been coerced out of Salman during more than 11 hours at FBI offices the day of the shooting. "A lot of their case fell apart in the middle of the trial, and they had to come up to explain why half the items in her confession were not only questionable, but they were false, " Clary said. "They seem desperate."

But the interaction with Loomer turned fractious after Clary said Salman's son hoped his mother might be home in time to color Easter eggs.

"Isn't Noor Salman Muslim?" Loomer asked. "Why is she celebrating Easter?" Clary said Salman was ethnically Muslim but not religious. Salman's cousin Susan Adieh then said she was also Muslim but her children painted Easter eggs, and a man with the family said, as the press conference was breaking down, that many children in his family also sit for photographs with Santa Claus.

Throughout the case, defense attorneys for Salman have maintained the widow never became radicalized even as Mateen watched online videos at night of beheadings and calls for acts of jihad during Ramadan. The Pulse attack occurred on the first weekend of Ramadan in 2016.

The terse exchange between Loomer and the family brought the press conference to a rapid close, and Loomer said she had never before met a Muslim who celebrated Easter and the question was fair. Then Loomer grabbed her cell phone and followed the Salman family to the parking lot at the federal courthouse and continued to broadcast her questioning of the family on Periscope.

Shortly afterward, the US District Court issued a notice to meida including the following: "We thank you all for your continued cooperation and adherence to the rules of the Middle District of Florida. Please note that we had another incident this afternoon. A member of the media engaged in highly inappropriate behavior with the Defendant's family members outside the courthouse. This member of the media has subsequently lost media credentials and has been banned from the courthouse. While we understand that you all are authorized to conduct interviews outside the courthouse, we ask that you please continue to exhibit professional behavior at all times -- any discourteous, offensive, or inappropriate behavior will result in the loss of media credentials."

The press conference also included questions from a cameraman with Loomer questioning the defense strategy of saying the statement by Salman was not in her words, and why, if Salman were simple and of low intelligence as defense experts testified, her punctuation was so good in the statement. But that statement was written by FBI Agent Ricardo Enriquez, with Salman signing it and adding a couple of notes while initialing every paragraph.

Loomer and her videographer later identified themselves to The Advocate as independent media. They asked to interview the reporter for this publication, but that request was declined. The conversation, though, included an assertion by Loomer that all Muslims, not just ISIS, dislike LGBT people. Online, Loomer said media ignored the fact that both prosecutors and defense attorneys in the trial used the word "jihad" in closing arguments to describe "violent Islamic terrorism."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Jacob Ogles