Widow of Orlando shooter pleads not guilty to aiding him

Noor Salman, widow of Omar Mateen who killed 49 people in Orlando nightclub, pleads not guilty to charges she aided her husband.

Ben Ariel ,

FBI officials at site of Orlando massacre
FBI officials at site of Orlando massacre
Reuters

Noor Salman, widow of the gunman responsible for the shooting attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando this past June pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges she aided her husband in planning the attack, AFP reported.

Salman, 30, entered her plea at a hearing in federal court in northern California where she was arrested on Monday in relation to last year's assault by her husband Omar Mateen.

The judge in the case ordered that she be held pending a bail hearing on February 1.

Her indictment, which was filed on Tuesday, states that Salman aided and abetted her husband's attempt to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Salman is also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly misleading local police in Florida and the FBI on information relating to the attack.

49 people died in Mateen's assault on the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Mateen, a U.S. citizen born in New York to Afghan immigrant parents, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) during a phone call with authorities during his rampage.

He was killed after taking hostages during a three-hour standoff inside the nightclub.

It has also been revealed that he took to social media during the massacre to declare support for ISIS, writing, among other things, “You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes… now taste the Islamic State vengeance.”

Federal prosecutor Roger Handberg told magistrate judge Donna Ryu at an initial hearing on Tuesday that Salman was well aware her husband "was going to conduct the attack."

However, her family and her attorney Linda Moreno insist the young woman -- who grew up in California and who had a four-year-old son with Mateen -- had no prior knowledge of the attack and was herself the victim of domestic abuse.

"We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person," Moreno told local media, according to AFP.

Salman faces up to life in prison if convicted.



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