US Widow of Orlando nightclub gunman goes on trial, facing life in prison

14:32  14 march  2018
14:32  14 march  2018 Source:   Reuters

Noor Salman trial: Defense wants Pulse widow's statements to FBI kept out of trial

  Noor Salman trial: Defense wants Pulse widow's statements to FBI kept out of trial Prosecutors will continue calling witnesses this morning in the trial of Noor Salman, as they work to prove that Salman helped her husband plot the massacre at Pulse nightclub. Testimony in the case against Omar Mateen's widow began last week. Jurors have already seen graphic video of the mass shooting at Pulse and heard testimony from survivors and the first officer on-scene.

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A trial for the widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in what prosecutors say was an attack in the name of Islamic State, was set to begin on Thursday with opening statements by both sides.

Noor Salman, widow of Omar Mateen, faces up to life in prison if she is convicted in U.S. District Court in Orlando of aiding and abetting her husband and obstructing a federal investigation into the June 12, 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub.

Salman, 31, was at home with the couple's then-3-year-old son during the shooting rampage, which ended with Mateen's death in an exchange of gunfire with police. But prosecutors say she knew of her husband’s plans and did nothing to stop him.

The trial, which is expected to last for a month, will take place at the Orlando courthouse where protesters have been gathering during jury selection to call for a guilty verdict.

Inside the courtroom, the owner of the Pulse nightclub, Barbara Poma, has been present for some of the initial proceedings.

Although Salman initially told investigators that her husband acted without her knowledge, she later acknowledged being aware that her husband was watching Islamic State recruitment videos, had purchased an assault rifle and examined three possible attack locations, according to prosecutors.

a car parked on the side of a road: FILE PHOTO: Investigators work the scene following a mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando© REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Investigators work the scene following a mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando Salman's attorneys contend the U.S. government could not show any direct links between Mateen and Islamic State before the attack and has provided no evidence that Salman aided her husband.

In court papers filed on Tuesday defense lawyers asked that prosecutors not be allowed to tell jurors during opening statements that the shooting rampage was intended as an attack on the gay community or that Salman took part in her husband's gun and ammunition purchases.

“It was Mateen, not Noor, who decided to attack the Pulse Night Club, Mateen who chose to drive to the club, Mateen who purchased the weapon and ammunition, and Mateen who alone carried out the attack,” the defense said in court filings.

Salman was indicted on two charges: obstruction of justice for alleged false statements to federal investigators, and aiding and abetting Mateen in his attempt to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Mateen, 29, opened fire shortly after the last call for drinks on the club’s popular Latin night.

Holding hostages during his standoff with police, he claimed allegiance to a leader of the Islamic State militant group before being fatally shot.

(Reporting by Joey Roulette in Orlando, Florida; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Eric Meijer)

Noor Salman trial: Jury watches graphic video of Pulse gunman Omar Mateen's rampage .
Jurors in the trial of Noor Salman watched graphic video of the Pulse massacre Thursday morning, including footage of Salman's husband, Omar Mateen, as he stalked the nightclub, spraying bullets. The video traced a timeline of Mateen's assault on the club.

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