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Cue ‘Law & Order’ dun-dun, because trial starts for widow of Orlando nightclub gunman




By Joey Roulette

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) – The federal trial for the widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, began on Thursday with the selection of jurors, who will decide whether she aided her husband in one of the deadliest U.S. mass shootings.

Noor Salman, wife of Omar Mateen, is the only person charged in the June 2016 attack on the Pulse nightclub and faces up to life in prison if convicted. Mateen, 29, died in an exchange of gunfire with police at the club.

Salman was at home with the couple’s then 3-year-old son at the time of the attack. But prosecutors said she knew of her husband’s plans to launch an attack and did nothing to stop it.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials collect evidence from the parking lot of the Pulse gay night club, the site of a mass shooting days earlier, in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo

Some protesters gathered outside the Orlando courthouse Thursday morning held posters encouraging a guilty verdict and calling for the death penalty. The trial could take as long as a month, court officers said.

Although she initially denied the accusations, Salman later told federal investigators she knew that her husband was watching recruitment videos for Islamic State in Iraq and that he had purchased an assault rifle and examined three possible attack locations, they said in court documents.

“The defendant aided and abetted her husband in this mass-murder and repeatedly lied to law enforcement during and after the attack in an effort to obstruct the FBI’s ongoing investigation,” they said in a court filing.

Defense lawyers contend the U.S. government could not show any direct links between Mateen and Islamic State before the attack and has provided no evidence that Salman aided her husband.

“It was Mateen, not Noor, who decided to attack the Pulse Night Club, Mateen who chose to drive to the club, Mateen who purchased the weapon and ammunition, and Mateen who alone carried out the attack,” they said in court filings.

Salman, 31, was indicted on two charges: obstruction of justice for alleged false statements to federal investigators and aiding and abetting Mateen in his attempt to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

In December, the judge denied a request by Salman’s attorneys to hold the proceedings outside of Orlando.

Mateen opened fire shortly after the last call for drinks on the club’s popular Latin night. He gunned down patrons on the dance floor and sprayed bullets at others hiding in bathroom stalls.

Holding hostages during his standoff with police, Mateen claimed allegiance to a leader of the Islamic State militant group before he was fatally shot.

(Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Frances Kerry)

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YouTube enters gun control debate, bans instructional firearms videos



YouTube has become the latest battleground in the debate on United States gun control. Videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories will now be banned, including bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster. Additionally, YouTube said it will prohibit videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms, reports Bloomberg.

Here’s the specific guidelines from YouTube:

This is not the first time YouTube has tightened its firearms policies. After the Las Vegas shooting, YouTube ruled that videos instructing how to install bump stocks fell under the category of “harmful and dangerous content.”

The policy updates shove the video-sharing website into the hostile debate on gun control, which has been reinvigorated after 17 students and faculty were killed at a Parkland, Florida high school. However, reports show gun-related deaths or injuries have occurred at high school or college campuses 1.5 per week since the beginning of the year. Among the gun-related deaths or injuries so far this year was a shooting spree on January 23 at a Kentucky middle school where 16 were shot, two of which were killed. Earlier this week, on March 20, two students were shot and injured at a Maryland high school. That shooter was killed.

Some vloggers have lashed out at YouTube for the adjusted regulations. Spike’s Tactical, a company that sells firearm parts and accessories, posted on social media that its account was suspended for its firearm videos. The suspension notice said that the account had “repeatedly or severely violated” YouTube’s community guidelines, so it’s unclear if the violations occurred before the tightened restrictions.

“The Liberal Left will slowly chip away at our freedoms and erode our rights, and the first step is to squelch our voice,” Spike’s posted in a profanity-laced rant on Facebook.

YouTube has long been criticized by gun control advocates for allowing illegal content to proliferate on the site. Just this week, YouTube kids was put on blast after a video provided its young audience with step-by-step instructions on how to create an air gun. That video, which racked up more than 3 million views, has since been removed.

Let’s see if this makes a difference.

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John Oliver’s parody book about Mike Pence’s gay bunny SOLD OUT!




John Oliver wrote a parody book about a day in the life of Vice President Mike Pence’s gay bunny. And the book sold out!

So here’s the kicker, boys and girls. Mike Pence actually has a bunny. And his name is Marlon Bundo. He’s even Insta famous, look him up. That pun is pretty fucking adorable, too. It’s also ironic, as it’s stemmed from the name of famous actor Marlon Brando, who has reportedly had a string of secret homosexual relationships, while Pence has vigorously opposed marriage equality. That being said, the VP’s daughter, Charlotte, wrote a book about about a day in the life of Marlon Bundo as he follows Pence around.

The book is illustrated by Pence’s wife, Karen, and includes historical facts intended to be educational for children.

A day before Monday’s release of “Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President,” Last Week Tonight host John Oliver announced on his show that he dropped his own Marlon Bundo book on Amazon — and that Marlon Bundo is gay. Instead of following around the VP, Marlon Bundo falls in a love with a boy in Oliver’s book.

Oliver’s book reached No. 1 on Amazon’s best-sellers list while the Pence-penned book was No. 4. And as mentioned, it’s sold out for now.

Charlotte and Karen Pence appeared on Fox Business Network together and were asked about Oliver’s parody book. Charlotte appeared mildly supportive of the gay bunny book, too, saying: “I mean, I think you know, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery in a way. But also, in all seriousness, his book is contributing to charities that I think we can all get behind. We have two books giving to charities that are about bunnies so I’m all for it really.”

An unspecified portion of the profits from the Pences’ book will go to non-controversial organizations that focus on providing art therapy to children. Meanwhile, 100 percent of proceeds from Oliver’s book are going toward AIDS United, a group dedicated to ending the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., and the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization that offers support to young LGBT community members.

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‘Sex and the City’ star is running for governor of New York



OK, Sex and the City fans, here’s a question for you: Should the person filling the role of a governor be a Carrie, a Miranda, a Charlotte or a Samantha?

Most who have watched the show would likely say a Miranda. She was the responsible career-oriented lawyer, after all. And that just might become a reality since Cynthia Nixon, the actress who played Miranda on the beloved HBO series and movie franchise, announced Monday (March 19) her gubernatorial bid for governor of New York.

“I love New York, and today I’m announcing my candidacy for governor,” she tweeted Monday.

Nixon also posted a chilling video on social media with her announcement:

The Tony, Grammy and Emmy award winning actress will challenge Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Empire State’s Democratic primary in September.

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