ORLANDO, Florida. – Lawyers for the widow of the man who is the life of dozens of people at a Florida nightclub say that her statement to the FBI after the attack should not be shown to the jury during its next session.
Testimony continues Friday in a two-day hearing in Orlando federal court to determine which evidence can be presented at the trial scheduled to begin on 1 March.
Noor Salman, 31, faces charges of aiding a terrorist organization and obstruction of justice. Her husband, Omar Mateen killed 49 people, injured at least 68 others during the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016.
In court Thursday, FBI Special Agent Ricardo Enriquez, a polygraph examiner assigned to the Miami office, said he drove to Fort Pierce where the Salmon lived with Mateen on the day of the attack to interview.
The Orlando Sentinel reports Enriquez spoke to Salman about her husband and then wrote her statement. The interviews of Salman that day were not audio or video recorded.
After writing the statement, Enriquez said he asked Salman to write a paragraph to say that they are not forced to talk. When she finished writing, she went to the bathroom, according to his testimony. While she was away, he read over her statement with two other agents.
Enriquez said he was surprised by the last sentence.
“I’m sorry for what happened. I wish I could go back and tell his family and police what he was going to do,” she wrote.
“I realized that, when I read that, she knew,” Enriquez testified.
Enriquez said he told Salman that he was disappointed in her not telling the truth, and that lying to the FBI is a crime.
He then took more statements from Salman. In the second, he testified, Salman said that they are suspected Mateen plan was for the attack of a club, but she didn’t know the details. In the third statement, she said that she knew that he was going to fall Pulse nightclub, and that they had visited Downtown Disney, which is now known as Disney Springs — and after dinner they drove around for about 20 minutes.
Salman’s lawyer Charles Swift countered that claim.
“It would be a shock for you, if it is not true,” Swift asked the FBI agent. “It would be a shock for you, as the GPS said that they never went near the Pulse night club?”
Enriquez replied, ” I have simply written down what they told me.”
Enriquez testified that Salman said she saw her husband looking at the club in the photo on a website. She told the agent that Mateen told her that was his purpose, and they realized that the attack would happen soon.
Judge Paul Byron also heard testimony Thursday from another agent of the FBI, Orlando Police hostage negotiator and a Fort Pierce police officer.
Swift said Salmon would testify when the hearing continues Friday.
Information from: Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com/