Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, on June 12 embarked on a shooting spree at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, that left 49 dead and dozens injured. He was killed after a standoff with law enforcement officials.

At times, Mateen sounded antsy and condescending, at one point calling the negotiator “homeboy.”

He repeatedly hung up on negotiators and ignored questions about how the situation could be resolved peacefully.

“You’re annoying me with a lot of these phone calls,” an impatient Mateen said during one of the calls.

Asked by the negotiator whether Mateen had done anything about the crisis in the Middle East, Mateen sneered, “You already know what I did.”

Mateen, who insisted he be called “Soldier of God,” demanded the negotiator “do your (expletive) homework” on U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, while repeatedly demanding the strikes stop. He told negotiators he was wearing a vest, but refused to elaborate further.

At one point, a frenzied Mateen threatened a car outside the club was rigged with explosives that could take out nearly a city block.

“Your people are gonna get it, and I’m going to ignite it if they do anything stupid.” Mateen taunted.

Schreiber ordered the release of the audio recordings following dozens of media requests, said Attorney Rachel Fugate of Thomas & LoCicero law firm, with offices in South Florida and Tampa. The judge decided to further evaluate more than 200 other recordings of calls made to and from people in the nightclub, Fugate said after the Monday hearing. The 9th Judicial Circuit consists of Orange and Osceola counties.

Gannett, the publisher of USA TODAY, was one of more than 25 news organizations and news advocacy groups, including CNN and The New York Times, who sued the City of Orlando in Orange County, Fla., Circuit Court to compel the the release of the tapes.

“The legal battle has been proceeding for some time and there was a lot of back and forth, but we’re now down to the last remaining issues with respect to whether these calls will be released,” Fugate said.

Fugate said the City of Orlando asserted the calls couldn’t be released because of an active criminal investigation and also because they could depict the killing of a person.


“Any recording that depicts the killing of a person is exempt, but it does provide a mechanism to show good cause to get those recordings,” Fugate said.

She said the cause would be to evaluate the police response to the emergency.

Fugate said if a call doesn’t fall within the exemption it will be released, but if it does the judge will “make a determination whether there’s good cause for access in some form to the call.”

She said there was no time frame given during the hearing on when that could occur.

“I think this is going to give better insight into the timeline of events, what was happening within that nightclub, what were emergency responders communicating with the victims and the hostages in there and did they act swiftly enough in rescuing them,” Fugate said.

In early September, the City of Orlando stated the Department of Justice and the FBI “have advised the City of the FBI’s determination that the 911 calls no longer need to be protected as part of the active criminal investigation into the Pulse nightclub massacre.”