A far-right provocateur and conspiracy theorist was escorted from an Orlando, Florida courthouse on Thursday after she harassed the family of Noor Salman, who is accused of aiding and abetting her deceased husband, Omar Mateen, in the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack.
Laura Loomer, a self-described “investigative journalist” who previously worked for James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas and the far-right Canadian outlet Rebel Media, pestered Salman’s family after closing arguments on Wednesday, HuffPost reported.
“You said you her son wants to color Easter eggs — but isn’t Noor Salman Muslim?” Loomer asked. “Why is she celebrating Easter?”
Salman’s cousin responded that their family believes in all religions but Loomer persisted, asking, “Do most Muslims color Easter eggs?”
As the family walked across the street to the parking lot, Loomer followed them, asking repeatedly if jihad meant act Islamic terrorism while “sticking her phone” in their faces.
Later that day, a court email said a reporter had lost media credentials for “highly inappropriate behavior with the Defendant’s family members outside the court.” Loomer tried to return to the courthouse on Thursday but was removed by a U.S. marshal, at which point she posted on Twitter that she’d been forcibly ejected.
I was just escorted our w/ force from the Orlando federal court house by a US Marshall as I was sitting in the press room waiting for a verdict in the #NoorSalman trial.
They said the judge has issued a court order, BANNING ME from the courthouse for the duration of the trIal. pic.twitter.com/A7tazISMXz
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) March 29, 2018
This isn’t the first time Loomer’s brand of “investigative journalism” has drawn the ire of law enforcement officials. After a gunman killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more in Las Vegas, Nevada last fall, Loomer interrupted Sheriff Joseph Lombardo at a press conference. She repeatedly harried him with leading questions about the shifting timeline of events, implying the police were covering up what had really happened.
Lombardo quickly shut her down at the time. “That’s now how I conduct press conferences,” he said. “Please stop asking your question. There’s a decorum we have here.”
After a man killed eight people with a rented truck in New York City last year, Loomer got herself banned from Uber and Lyft for tweeting, “I’m late to the NYPD press conference because I couldn’t find a non Muslim cab or @Uber @lyft driver for over 30 min!”
She also tweeted that “Muslims are out in full force at the scene of the NYC #ISIS attack today rubbing it in everyone’s face. Aimlessly walking around in hijabs.”
Loomer was one of a number of white supremacists — including Twitter troll Baked Alaska and far-right British Islamophobe Tommy Robinson — who lost their blue checkmark when they were de-verified from Twitter last October. Loomer, unsurprisingly, did not take it well.
“If there’s one thing I have a record of doing, its [sic] catching some of the most powerful people in the country on camera,” she said. “If the Left wants to try and silence me.. then let’s play.”
In Orlando, Salman is on trial for aiding and abetting Mateen’s attack by allegedly lying to the FBI. This is despite prosecutors admitting that there is zero evidence that Salman was either radicalized or shared her husband’s extremist views.
Mateen killed 49 people during the attack on the Pulse nightclub in June 2016. According to prosecutors during the trial this week, Mateen had originally planned to target Disney World’s shopping and entertainment complex, but was put off by the police presence there.