U.S.

Noor Salman, Wife of Pulse Nightclub Shooter, Found Not Guilty of 2016 Shooting

Noor Salman, the wife of the Orlando mass shooter Omar Mateen, has been found not guilty of aiding and abetting material support to a foreign terror organization and of obstruction of justice on Friday, Orlando Sentinel reported.


After weighing the decision for about three days, the 12-member jury delivered its verdict. Prosecutors accused the 31-year-old of lying to the FBI agents who were investigating the mass shooting her husband committed, killing 49 people at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016. It was later discovered he carried out the attack in support for the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), a terrorist group.

If Salman had been convicted, she could have faced up to life in prison. Reporters during the verdict tweeted an emotional scene from the courtroom. Salman cried and hugged her loved ones after the verdict was announced.

Salman was arrested in January 2017, seven months after her husband committed the deadly attack. She had denounced ISIS in Facebook posts that were included in court documents. 

Salman’s defense attorney said during the trial that there was no proof that Mateen would involve his wife in the shooting

"Why would Omar Mateen confide in Noor, a woman he clearly had no respect for?" defense attorney Linda Moreno said during her closing arguments, Orlando Sentinel reported. "She was not his peer, she was not his partner, and she was not his confidant."

In a statement released after the verdict, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said he "believed in our criminal justice system" and was “grateful for the jury’s hard work and thoughtful deliberation.”

“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,” Mina said. “I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the FBI, who have worked tirelessly on this case in the quest for justice.”

Orlando County Sheriff Jerry L. Demings said in a statement posted by an Orlando Sentinel reporter on Twitter that he was "disappointed in the outcome of the trial," and understood the feelings of disappointment the families of the victims must feel after the verdict.

"This has been an emotional event for our community and many may feel that justice has not prevailed; however, the system of justice has spoken and we should look to the continued healing for the families and our entire community so that this event will not define us," Demings wrote.

 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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