Wife of Orlando Pulse terrorist pleads not guilty to aiding attack
The wife of the gunman who killed 49 innocent people in Orlando’s gay nightclub Pulse has pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting him.
Omar Mateen was killed in a shootout with police after the horrific incident on June 12 last year, when he opened fire in the Florida gay club.
His attack was the most deadly mass shooting in recent US history, with nearly 50 dead and many more suffering serious injuries.
Mateen’s wife Noor Salman was not initially arrested in the wake of the attack, but was detained in January this year after a police investigation cast doubt on her statements.
She stands accused of knowing about the plans for the attack in advance, but her attorneys and family insist she did not know what her husband was planning.
Salman made a federal court appearance in Orlando today, pleading not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting her husband, as well as a charge of obstruction of justice.
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According to court documents, security officials believe that in the days after the shooting, Salman lied to the FBI when she denied any involvement.
Prosecutors believe that while planning the shooting, Mateen asked Salman whether attacking the Disney site would have a bigger impact than attacking a nightclub.
It was also previously alleged she had “driven him to the gay nightclub, Pulse, because he wanted to scope it out” and “was with him when he bought ammunition and a holster”.
But Salman’s uncle Al Salman insists that the 30-year-old was “simple and innocent”, and that she had been abused by Mateen.
Salman, who remains in custody after being denied bail, kept quiet during the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes, as her attorneys entered the plea.
Magistrate Karla Spaulding scheduled the trial for the beginning of June, almost exactly one year on from the attack.
If found guilty, Salman could face life in prison. A group of survivors have also threatened a civil lawsuit against her.