The widow of the Pulse nightclub gunman was found not guilty Friday morning in charges that she aided and abetted her husband Omar Mateen in the 2016 mass shooting in Orlando which killed 49 people.
After a two-week trial, federal jurors ultimately decided to acquit Noor Salman, 31, on all charges, according to CNN.
Prosecutors had claimed that she helped 29-year-old Mateen in his killing spree and that after the crime, she lied to the FBI. Salman had pleaded not guilty to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and to a charge of obstruction for justice. Her lawyers have described her as a woman with a low IQ who was abused by Mateen. They claim she didn’t know about his deadly plans.
"Omar Mateen is a monster. Noor Salman is a mother, not a monster. Her only sin is she married a monster," her attorney Linda Moreno told jurors, according to CNN.
Midway through the widow’s trial, prosecutors revealed that Mateen's dad Seddique Mateen, was an FBI secret informant for over a decade. Seddique is currently under investigation for money transfers to Turkey and Afghanistan. Documentation of the transfers was found and confiscated after police searched the Mateen home, after the massacre. Furthermore, in 2012 the FBI received a tip that Seddique "was seeking to raise $50,000 - $100,000 via a donation drive to contribute towards an attack against the government of Pakistan,” according to NBC News. Because the prosecution did not reveal Seddique’s FBI informant past or the investigation into those transfers earlier, Salman’s attorney argues this violates her right to due process. Her lawyers have also argued that failure to bring up these allegations sooner resulted in a failure to look at Omar’s dad as a possible accomplice in the Pulse attacks.
Susan Clary, a spokesman for Salman's family said after the verdict, according to NBC News, "The family really wants to first say that we're very sorry for the family members and friends of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting and also the survivors of that horrible attack.”
Clary said that now Salman can go back to her son Zack after two years of imprisonment.