undergroundnewsroom.com April 26, 2018

USA jury acquits Orlando nightclub shooter's widow

02 April 2018, 11:22 | Gordon Grant

Wife of Pulse nightclub killer Omar Mateen found not guilty of aiding husband's attack that left 49 people dead

Orlando Nightclub Shooter's First Target Was Disney World, Prosecutors Say

Noor Salman, the widow of the Florida nightclub gunman, walked free on Friday after a jury cleared her of charges related to the massacre that killed 49 people nearly two years ago.

To avoid a conviction for aiding and abetting a terrorist act - and with it, a potential life sentence - an Orlando jury would have to decide that her confession could not be trusted beyond a reasonable doubt.

"A verdict of not guilty did not mean that we thought Noor Salman was unaware of what Omar Mateen was planning to do", he said. Prosecutors said it showed she knew about Omar Mateen's attack and did nothing to stop it.

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.

"And after looking at the evidence, it's still not totally clear, but I think the only way for us to move on and heal is to not focus so much on this, and focus on memorializing and keeping the legacy alive of people that died that night", she said.

The 12-member jury reportedly delivered its verdict after deliberating for 12 hours.

"It's Good Friday for everybody", said Al Salman, an uncle. What exactly was Noor Salman charged with? It's a awful, random, senseless killing by a monster. "Noor Salman is a mother, not a monster", defense attorney Linda Moreno told jurors.

In a blow to the government's case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation itself found that receipts and cellphone signals showed the couple were nowhere near the Pulse on the day Salman said they were.

Over the course of the trial, jurors saw graphic footage from inside Pulse, watching as Mateen sprayed bullets into a crowd of patrons, then stalked the nightclub, shooting the wounded as they lay on the dance floor.

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Salman was married to Omar Mateen when he attacked the Pulse nightclub.

The trial started two weeks ago in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Florida.

The SWAT team stormed the club after a few minutes of Mateen's terror, and they gunned him down at the scene. "Really that is the top most important thing the family wants you all to know, regardless of their happiness today at the verdict".

Lawyers argued that Salman's statement, obtained after more than 11 hours of questioning without a lawyer present, amounted to a false confession. His intended target was the Disney Springs complex, prosecutors said.

The jurors said little as they left court. To prosecutors, she was a willing accomplice who gave her husband a "green light" to carry out the attack. "She knew what he was doing".

In addition, 50-year-old protester and former Pulse frequenter Louis Morales said, while taking part in a demonstration outside of the former nightclub, "She may not be guilty, but she's not innocent".

Prosecutors argued the messages show Salman was helping her husband concoct a cover story to tell his parents, who had invited the couple to a fast-breaking dinner at their mosque.

A visibly anxious Salman, wearing a dark suit, stood in court as the verdict was read.

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