Noor Salman, widow of Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen, was Friday acquitted of the charges in connection with the June 2016 carnage in Orlando, Florida.
The jury foreman in the closed process of Noor Salman — widow of Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen – said jurors were “convinced” they knew of the attack beforehand, but had “no option but to return a verdict of not guilty.”
In a statement to the Orlando Sentinel, the juror — who asked to remain anonymous — said: “a verdict of not guilty does NOT mean that we thought that Noor, Salman was not aware of what Omar Mateen was planning to do”, instead of that the jury had “not charged with deciding whether she was aware of a possible attack.
Foreman: Jury ‘convinced’ Noor Salman knew Mateen was plotting an attack, but could not convince https://t.co/l5mmN1SuQc pic.twitter.com/KeRi0Itmik
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) 30 March 2018
“On the contrary, we were convinced that they knew,” the statement continues. “They might have not known what day or what location, but they knew it.”
Mateen killed 49 people, injured 58 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016, before he was killed by the police.
Salman preventing a potential life sentence Friday after she was found not guilty on the charges of obstruction and aiding and abetting, providing material support to a terrorist organization – a controversial decision that left many survivors are frustrated and angry.
“What does this send to the world?” Tiara Parker, one of the survivors of the shooting, told Fox News on “The Story” on Friday. “This sends to the world that it is OK to do these things. And that is not what we’re here for.”
The acquittal was “devastating” and “no justice was served,” she added.
Salman was acquitted of the charges including lying to the FBI and the help of her husband in the attack.
Such negative reactions to the verdict asked the jury foremen for the issuance of the statement to the newspaper.
“I felt compelled to at least clarify a number of misconceptions,” expressing “condolences to the family and friends of the victims of this senseless tragedy,” the foreman said.
“I understand the desire to have someone responsible for this horrific act of violence. Omar Mateen is dead. He can not be punished,” the statement read. “It is only logical that the world would be there next to Noor Salman.”
The juror also acknowledged “there were a number of important differences with the written summaries of its financial statements,” as the FBI did not record the interviews with Salaman after the attack, according to the paper.
However, the statement credited both the public prosecutor and the defence for “an excellent job with the presentation of their case.”
“The bottom line is that, on the basis of the letter of the law and the instructions of the court, we were presented with no option but to return a verdict of not guilty,” the statement read.
Salman not testify in her defense.
Benjamin Brown is a reporter from Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473.