THE widow of the gunman who slaughtered 49 people at a gay Orlando nightclub has been acquitted of helping her husband plot the attack and lying to the FBI afterward.
Friday’s ‘not guilty’ verdict ended government’s two-year effort to hold someone accountable.
Noor Salman sobbed upon hearing the jury’s verdict of obstruction and providing material support to a terrorist organization, charges that could have brought life in prison.
Prosecutors had charged that THE 31-year-old and her husband, Omar Mateen, had scouted out potential targets together – including Disney World’s shopping and entertainment complex – and that she knew he was buying ammunition for his AR-15 assault-style rifle for a jihadi attack.
The government contended also that she knew Mateen had a sick fascination with violent jihadi videos and an affinity for Islamic State group websites, and she gave him a “green light to commit terrorism.”
But the defense portrayed her as an easily manipulated woman with a low IQ and argued that she signed a false confession because she was tired after extensive questioning and feared losing her young son.
In a blow to prosecutors’ case, investigators found receipts and evidence from cellphones that showed the couple was nowhere near the Pulse on the day Salman said they were.
After the verdict, prosecutors said they were disappointed in the jury’s decision and took no questions.