Noor Salman, widow of Pulse shooter Omar Mateen, has been found not guilty of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.
Salman was arrested in January 2017 for possible connections to her husband’s June 2016 killing spree that killed 49 people and injured over 50 others at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Police killed Mateen during his rampage.
“Noor can go home now to her son, resume her life and try to pick up the pieces from two years in jail,” Salman family spokeswoman Susan Clary said.
Prosecutors had alleged that Mateen received help from Salman while preparing to carry out his attack, and that she then tried to mislead the investigation by lying to the FBI.
“This case is about what she knew and what she did,” Assistant US Attorney Sara Sweeney said. “The defendant didn’t pull the trigger that night, but she did serve as a green light for her husband.”
The defense said that Salman was nothing more than a victim of her husband’s deceit and in no way an accomplice.
“Omar Mateen is a monster. Noor Salman is a mother, not a monster,” defense attorney Linda Moreno told jurors. “Her only sin is she married a monster.”
Salman, who faced life in prison, wrote in a statement that she knew her husband was going to do something violent in the days leading up to the Pulse shooting.
“I wish I had done the right thing, but my fear held me back,” she wrote. “I wish I had been more truthful.”
While the defense tried to paint Salman as completely aloof to her husband’s radical behavior, an FBI agent testified that Salman witnessed her husband purchasing a rifle and ammunition, practicing at a gun range, and watching jihadi beheading videos.
However, a forensic clinical psychologist testified that she gave false confessions due to her low IQ scores, mental issues, lack of sleep, and extended interrogations.
Salman did not testify during the trial, and with her acquittal, will now be allowed to walk free.
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