Judge rules Pulse terrorist’s widow NOT guilty, defense attorney’s argument enrages critics

The widow of the Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen has been found not guilty of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.

Noor Salman was acquitted Friday on charges of lying to the FBI and helping her husband in his 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in which he killed 49 people and injured more than 50 others, Fox News reported.

Six months after the attack in which Mateen was killed by police who responded, Salman was arrested in January 2017. In a signed statement after the arrest, Salman told the FBI that she was aware of her husband’s plans before the June attack.

After 3 days and 12 hours of deliberations, and with Salman not testifying in her own defense, she was found not guilty and was extremely emotional when the verdict was announced, according to Fox News which reported that she “had tears streaming down her face while she looked at her family and smiled.”

Salman would have faced up to life in prison if convicted.

According to Fox News (emphasis added):

Prosecutors had argued Salman and her husband, Omar Mateen, scouted out potential targets to attack together — including Disney World’s shopping and entertainment complex — and she knew he was buying ammunition for his AR-15 in preparation for a jihadi-inspired attack. In the end, Mateen chose the Pulse nightclub for the deadly shooting on June 12, 2016.

Defense attorneys described Salman, who was born in California to Palestinian parents, as a simple woman with a low IQ. She was abused by her husband, who cheated on her with other women and concealed much of his life from her, they said.

Attorney Charles Swift said there was no way Salman knew that Mateen would attack the Pulse nightclub because even he didn’t know he would attack the nightclub until after he went to the Disney Springs complex.

 

During the trial, it was revealed that Mateen, who was born in New York to Afghani parents and had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group before the attack, had an interesting connection through his father. Seddique Mateen reportedly had served as an undercover informant for the FBI for a decade, but defense attorneys’ request for a mistrial was denied by the judge earlier this week.

“I believe in our criminal justice system and am grateful for the jury’s hard work and thoughtful deliberations. 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,” Chief John Mina of the Orlando Police Department said in a statement following the verdict.

“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,” Mina said.

Over on social media, Twitter users reacted with surprise to the verdict.

Many were enraged that the defense used Salmon’s “low IQ” as an argument for innocence.

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