Pulse Gunman’s Wife Found Not Guilty on All Charges
She was charged with obstructing justice and aiding and abetting her late husband Omar Mateen in his June 2016 massacre of 49 nightclub attendees.
Salman was charged with aiding and abetting Mateen, who massacred 49 people and injured dozens more in Orlando in June 2016, and with obstructing justice in the case. Jury deliberations lasted about 12 hours over three days.
According to reporters in court, Salman wiped away tears after the first verdict was read and was openly sobbing by the time the last one was read. Her relatives were similarly emotional, with an uncle even leaping out of his seat at the news. Salman, 31, would have faced life in prison if convicted in the case.
Orlando police Chief John Mina released a statement on Friday praising the jury’s “hard work and thoughtful deliberation,” noting that “nothing can erase the pain we all feel about the senseless and brutal murders of 49 of our neighbors, friends, family members, and loved ones.”
“Our community is strong, and the men and women of the Orlando Police Department stand ready to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our residents and visitors,” said Mina.
Prosecutors had claimed Salman knew about her husband’s plan to attack the nightclub and even visited the site with him before the rampage. The case against her unraveled over the past few weeks, after an FBI agent testified in court that the bureau knew early in the investigation that Salman was never near Pulse, despite the prosecution’s claims.
After 17 hours of questioning, Salman reportedly signed a statement claiming she was there just hours before the shooting, but evidence later showed that was not possible. She has been held without bond since she was arrested in January 2017.
“Why would Omar Mateen confide in Noor, a woman he clearly had no respect for?” said defense attorney Linda Moreno, during her closing arguments. “She was not his peer, she was not his partner, and she was not his confidant.”
Earlier this week, officials revealed that Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, was a confidential FBI source for years before the deadly 2016 rampage. Unveiled documents reportedly stated that the elder Mateen’s relationship with the bureau preceded a 2013 investigation into threats made by the shooter three years before the Pulse attack.