Jury Finds Pulse Nightclub Shooter’s Widow Not Guilty

"The defendant didn't pull the trigger that night," prosecutors argued, "but she did serve as a green light for her husband.

A Florida jury has found Noor Salman, widow of Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen, not guilty of abetting her husband in the bloody massacre that took 49 lives on June 12, 2016.

Salman, 31, was arrested in January 2017 and charged with obstruction, lying to investigators, and providing material support to a terrorist organization. Had she been found guilty, Salman could have face life in prison.

Her attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have a mistrial declared after learning Mateen’s father was an FBI informant for more than a decade.

During the trial, prosecutors argued she knew the attack at the gay nightclub was coming and even helped her husband scout potential locations, including Disney and CityPlace in West Palm Beach.

“This case is about what she knew and what she did,” Assistant US Attorney Sara Sweeney said. “The defendant didn’t pull the trigger that night, but she did serve as a green light for her husband.”

Her defense attorneys countered that Salman was just a simple-minded victim with an I.Q. of 87.

“She doesn’t go to the mosque, she searches for Hello Kitty on her website,” defense attorney Charles Swift said in his closing argument. “We’re supposed to believe she had long conversations with Omar Mateen about jihads?”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery