ORLANDO, Fla. — Attorneys who are prosecuting and defending Noor Salman, the widow of Pulse gunman Omar Mateen, were back in court Thursday morning.

A federal judge said he would begin sending out jury summonses on Sept. 1 for the trial of the wife of Pulse gunman Omar Mateen.

The trial won’t start until March 1, 2018, said U.S. District Judge Paul Byron, but he plans to send out summonses and questionnaires on Sept. 1 to 800 to 1,000 people. He and attorneys will then sort through them and cull those who are not qualified or would be dismissed.

The questionnaires will likely be 20 to 25 pages, he said.

Mateen is the security guard who opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub, on June 12, killing 49 people and injuring at least 68 others.

Salman is charged with helping him and with obstruction of justice. She says she’s not guilty.

In paperwork filed Wednesday the U.S. Attorney’s Office and defense attorneys asked a judge to delay her trial for nine months and push it back to March.

Prosecutors also are asking the judge to sign an order prohibiting the public release of evidence that the government and defense attorneys collect.

—Orlando Sentinel


Tomi Lahren asks judge to hold Glenn Beck, The Blaze in contempt over story on conservative site

DALLAS — Tomi Lahren on Thursday asked a Dallas County judge to hold Glenn Beck and his right-wing media firm The Blaze in contempt of court over a news story that attacked Lahren.

Lahren’s lawyer, Brian Lauten, alleged in court records that it was clearly Blaze employees who anonymously slammed Lahren in a story Wednesday by The Daily Caller, a conservative website, headlined “EXCLUSIVE: The Inside Story Of How Tomi Lahren Flamed Out At The Blaze.”

The filing came three days after the judge ordered both sides not to publicly criticize each other.

“It took no less than 48 hours for (Beck and The Blaze) to violate this Court’s order,” the filing said. “This Court should immediately get to the bottom of what appears to be a very transparent attempt at a public smear campaign by Defendants.”

Lahren, 24, is suing Beck and The Blaze, where she worked since 2015, to be freed from her contract that is set to expire in September. She alleged she was fired for voicing a pro-abortion rights stance and saying on the TV show “The View” that it would be hypocritical to support both limited government and government intrusion on abortion.

The Blaze has said that Lahren is not fired, and is still drawing a salary. She should not be allowed to end her contract early just because the company canceled her show, “Tomi,” the firm argues.

An attorney for The Blaze and Beck, Eliot Burriss, referred requests for comment to an outside spokesperson who didn’t immediately respond to the latest filing.

The filing by Lahren’s attorney alleged that The Blaze refuses to free Lahren from her contract because it want “to settle a score with someone who failed to tow (sic) the party line on the issue of abortion.”

—The Dallas Morning News


Marijuana legalization advocates arrested in pot giveaway

WASHINGTON — Seven people were arrested on marijuana charges near the U.S. Capitol on Thursday as they participated in a pot giveaway aimed at pressuring Congress to legalize the drug.

Three were arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and four were charged with possession, said Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police.

She said the seven had been arrested after police witnessed them distributing marijuana to passers-by at the intersection of First and Constitution.

“Under federal law, it is unlawful to possess marijuana,” Malecki said.

The pot giveaway was organized by DCMJ, a pro-legalization group based in Washington.

The arrests came on April 20, or 4/20, the unofficial national holiday for backers of marijuana legalization.

—McClatchy Washington Bureau


Retired military officers want Trump to continue normalizing relations with Cuba

MIAMI — Sixteen retired senior military officers are asking the Trump administration to continue the process of normalization with Cuba for the sake of U.S. national security and stability in the region.

“The location of Cuba in the Caribbean and proximity to the US make it a natural and strategically valuable partner on issues of immediate concern, including terrorism, border control, drug interdiction, environmental protections, and emergency preparedness,” the retired officers stated in a letter that was for national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and made public on Thursday.

The retired officers indicated that ensuring economic stability on the island was beneficial to the United States for security reasons.

“We acknowledge the current regime must do more to open its political system and dialogue with the Cuban people. But, if we fail to engage economically and politically, it is certain that China, Russia, and other entities whose interests are contrary to the United States’ will rush into the vacuum,” the letter said. “We have an opportunity now to shape and fill a strategic void.”

Six of the 16 letter-signers traveled to Havana from March 14-17 at the invitation of the Cuban government and met with officials from the Foreign Ministry as well as representatives from the Energy, Agriculture, Trade and Foreign Investment ministries. The group also visited the Port of Mariel and met with 12 Ministry of Interior officials — a gathering not previously disclosed. The MININT is in charge of domestic security but also of the Cuban intelligence services.

—El Nuevo Herald

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