Attorneys will offer jurors their closing arguments Wednesday in the federal terrorism trial of Noor Salman, the widow of the Pulse nightclub shooter.
Through the trial, Salman’s attorneys have maintained her innocence by trying to show jurors that she was a victim and not an accomplice. Prosecutors claim that Salman was aware of her husband’s plans and helped him.
Salman, 31, is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice for allegedly misleading law enforcement agents in their investigation of the massacre.
She was first arrested in January 2017, months after her husband Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured more than 50 others when he opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Salman did not testify in her trial.
If she is convicted on the terror charge, she could face life in prison.
‘I wish I had been more truthful’
Jurors watched surveillance video showing Mateen buying weapons prior to the shooting and also opening fire inside the nightclub.
Security cameras also recorded Mateen along with Salman going on a shopping spree for clothing, toys and jewelry at several stores in central Florida at least a week before the shooting.
After Salman’s arrest, she said in a statement to the FBI that she knew beforehand that her husband was going to do something violent.
“I wish I had done the right thing but my fear held me back. I wish I had been more truthful,” she wrote in a statement that was shown in court.
Ricardo Enriquez, an FBI special agent, testified that Salman said in several statements to the FBI that Mateen watched violent jihadi beheading videos, purchased a rifle, ammo and went to a gun range to practice.
‘She’s not calculating’
Defense attorneys cast Salman as a mother, a victim of Mateen’s abuse and infidelity as well as of the FBI’s coercive investigators.
“Omar Mateen is a monster. Noor Salman is a mother, not a monster. Her only sin is she married a monster,” defense attorney Linda Moreno told jurors.
Since the defense started its case on Monday, her family and friends described her as a peaceful person and a good mother.
They said Salman is not capable of being “calculating,” “deceptive,” or “able to connect the dots.”
“Nothing harmful would come out of her,” a friend of Salman’s who was only identified as Ms. Ahmed in court told jurors, according to CNN affiliate WKGM.
Bruce Frumkin, a forensic clinical psychologist testified Tuesday saying lack of sleep, mental issues, low IQ scores and lengthy interrogations contribute to false confessions.
Salman was interviewed by authorities for 11 hours and her IQ score is 84, which makes her “below average in intelligence,” Frumkin said.
Gunman’s father was FBI informant
Defense attorneys filed a motion for dismissal last weekend after prosecutors informed them that the shooter’s father was an FBI informant who is currently under a criminal investigation.
The revelation threatened to upend the case against Salman but a judge denied the motion, saying it was not relevant to the case against her.
Seddique Mateen was a confidential FBI source at various points in time between January 2005 through June 2016, a motion filed by the defense says citing an email from Assistant US Attorney Sara Sweeney.
The email also stated that Seddique Mateen is being investigated for money transfers to Turkey and Afghanistan after documents were found in his home on June 12, 2016, the day of the Pulse attack. The dates of the money transfers were between March 16, 2016, and June 5, 2016, according to the email.
Defense attorneys argued that if they had known about Seddique Mateen’s FBI status, they may have argued other theories during the trial. One of those theories was that the Mateens, rather than Salman, conspired to support ISIS, according to the motion.
Seddique Mateen had been on the prosecution’s witness list, but was not called to testify in the trial.