Noor Salman, the widow of Pulse nightclub killer Omar Mateen, was acquitted even though many of the jurors were convinced she knew about her ISIS-loyalist husband’s terrorist plot beforehand.
“A verdict of not guilty did NOT mean that we thought Noor Salman was unaware of what Omar Mateen was planning to do,” the jury foreman wrote in the Orlando Sentinel. “On the contrary, we were convinced she did know.”
However, the foreman said the jury had no choice but to return a not-guilty verdict because Salman was tried for “aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice,” and not for whether she knew about the Islamist terrorist plot before it happened.
“We were not tasked with deciding if she was aware of a potential attack,” he said. “The charges were aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice.” The jury foreman explained the verdict:
“A verdict of not guilty did NOT mean that we thought Noor Salman was unaware of what Omar Mateen was planning to do. On the contrary, we were convinced she did know. She may not have known what day, or what location, but she knew. However, we were not tasked with deciding if she was aware of a potential attack. The charges were aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice.
I wish that the FBI had recorded their interviews with Ms. Salman, as there were several significant inconsistencies with the written summaries of her statements. The bottom line is that, based on the letter of the law, and the detailed instructions provided by the court, we were presented with no option but to return a verdict of not guilty.”
Mateen killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 2016 before being killed by police. Mateen had pledged allegiance to ISIS in the months preceding the attack.
Salman was arrested in January 2017, and confessed in a signed statement to the FBI that she was aware of her husband’s plans ahead of time. At trial, defense attorneys argued that Salman was too dumb to realize her husband would follow through on his attack on the day it happened. According to Fox News:
“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.”
Adding to the bizarre legal circus are bombshell revelations that Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, had been a paid undercover FBI informant for 11 years when Robert Mueller and James Comey were FBI director.
Noor Salman’s defense attorneys said Seddique’s FBI connection was the reason why the DOJ decided to prosecute her — and not him — despite speculation that he was also aware of his son’s terrorist plans beforehand.
Salman’s attorneys said by not prosecuting Seddique, the FBI was trying to cover up its own incompetence in not foiling a terrorist attack. They wrote:
“1) Omar Mateen and his father, rather than Ms. Salman, conspired to support ISIS; or 2) the FBI’s focus on Ms. Salman was based on its own motive to avoid responsibility for its failures with its own informant, Seddique Mateen, as well as his son.”
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