Almost two years ago that 49 people were butchered in the night club of her husband, Omar Mateen, the widow of the trial will be the only criminal prosecution, for what was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting in AMERICAN history.
At one point, it was the deadliest mass shooting in modern AMERICAN history. Now, two years after 49 people were butchered in a busy nightclub in Orlando, the wife of the gunman responsible on process — and the families of the victims are looking for justice.
Omar Mateen opened fire with a Sig Saur semi-automatic rifle on June 12, 2016, killing dozens of people before he was fatally shot hours later by the police. The trial of his widow, Noor Salman, will be the only criminal prosecution for the incident.
Testimony began on March 14, and members of the jury are now deliberating the case against Salman, who is facing life in prison, if convicted. Here is what you need to know.
What is she accused of?
Salman has pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting Mateen’s allegiance to the Islamic State. She is also charged with obstruction of justice, as FBI agents say that they lied to them during the interview hours after the attack.
Assistant district Attorney of the V. S. James Mandolfo says Salman gave conflicting statements to FBI agents. In a conversation with the authorities, before they were aware of all the details of the attack, she said, “My man is safe with guns.”
“No one has ever told her about guns,” Mandolfo said.
FBI agents interviewed Salman three times after the attack. She said that she was aware Mateen was planning to do something, and that the texts of her husband to prove it.
“She knew that he would go to the behavior of the attack, the federal attorney Roger Handberg told a judge during a hearing in Oakland on Jan. 17, 2017.
A text recovered from Salman’s phone reads, “If ur mother calls to say nimo invited you and noor wants to stay at home.” Another reads, “They asked where you were xoxo. Love you.”
“Nimo,” or Nemo, is the name of one of Mateen’s friends, who defense attorneys said Mateen often used to cover his tracks as he went out to cheat on his wife.
She shopped with her husband at Walmart the night before the attack when he bought five containers with ammunition, a source close to the investigation previously told Fox News.
A law enforcement source also told Fox she had driven her husband to Pulse nightclub at least once before the deadly shooting.
What is her defense?
The family and Salman’s lawyers deny they had anything to do with Mateen of the plot.
In November 2016, interview with The New York Times, Salman apologized for her husband from the law and claimed that she was not aware of his plan.
“I don’t condone what he has done,” she told the newspaper. “I am very sorry for what has happened. He has hurt a lot of people.”
Defense attorneys, describing Salman as a simple woman with a low IQ, who was abused by her husband and was in constant fear for her life. Her lawyers also claim that they are not given proper Miranda warnings, which tell suspects they have a right to remain silent and have a lawyer present, before they make statements.
“I knew when he left the house he went to Orlando to the attack of the Impulse Night Club,” Salman confirmed in a signed statement, written by an FBI agent, according to the documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
Lawyer Linda Moreno makes this confession was forced and, therefore, should not be admissible in court.
“Noor Salman denied any knowledge of Omar Mateen plans for the hour,” Moreno says, claims agents told Salman that she could go to jail and not seeing her child.
What about her family?
FBI agents arrested Salman in January 2017, in her California home, where she had been, who with her young son, which she shared with Mateen.
The now 5-year-old boy, who lives with his grandmother in California, has since learned about his father’s steps and has not had contact with Mateen’s side of the family, Susan Clary, spokesperson of Salman’s family, told the Orlando Sentinel.
Salman reportedly calls on the boy daily.
“They talk about what he has learned in his kindergarten class that day and what his favorite toys are,” said the Florida newspaper.
What do we know about her process so far?
U. S. District Judge Paul G. Byron, federal prosecutors and defense attorneys picked 12 jury members and six alternates on 12 March.
Opening statements began in federal court on March 14, in downtown Orlando.
On the first day of the trial, jurors listened to a testimony that is hidden under a dead body for three hours, shots were fired and an Orlando police detective who choked up on the stand. They also saw a video, taken during the filming by a survivor in the club.
Jurors watched graphic videos of the massacre, the next day in the house. Salman shielded her face as the videos and images were displayed on the screen, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
See a video of Mateen to open fire shooting the people already are motionless on the dance floor. He walked over to the toilet where he began to focus of people that are hiding in the bathroom stalls.
On March 18, Salman’s defense team filed a motion, asking the court to put a ban on prosecution of the use of a destructive judgments of the widow have made to an FBI agent about Mateen the plan, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The following day, FBI Special Agent Ricardo Enriquez took the stand to reveal the statement Salman had given him the evening, he asked her about the mass shooting.
“I’m sorry for what happened,” Enriquez read Salman’s comment, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “I wish that I would go and tell to his family and the police what he was going to do.”
Salman’s lawyers for the defense argued those statements were not accurate.
On March 20, the mother of Mateen friend, known only by the nickname “Nemo”, testified before the court. They discussed the pair’s relationship, and told the court her son was working that night in Washington, D. C., and not with Mateen.
Jurors got a deeper look into Mateen’s past on March 21, when they searched through his browser history, which included ISIS propaganda and beheading videos. They are also mirrored by the photos taken in Florida his home.
The final text messages between the couple were read out in court.
Salman sms Mateen two times during his hours-long confrontation with the police, with the question, “Where are you?”
Mateen replied, “You heard what happened”.
“????” Salman replied. “What happened?!” Salman text message.
“I love you “babe”,” Mateen wrote in his last text message at 4:29 pm
“Habibi, what happened?!” Salman wrote, using an Arabic term of endearment. “Your mother said that she thought:” come over and you never did.”
On 22 March, members of the jury watched security footage of Salman with her husband — with their young son close to — if Mateen ammunition bought at Walmart.
“I knew Omar was preparing for the Jihad when he bought the gun, was going to the range to shoot, was spending a lot of money and bought the ammunition,” Salman said, according to a transcript statement of the jury members were given earlier, the Orlando Sentinel reported. “I saw these things as a green light for Omar to do an act of violence.”
On March 24, lawyers revealed that Mateen’s father was a secret FBI informant for more than a decade — a revelation that led to direct talks by the defense for a mistrial.
“Seddique Mateen was an FBI confidential human source at different points in time between January 2005 and June 2016,” the defense lawyers, in a court document, cited in the United States Attorney Sara Sweeney as saying in a letter.
Salman’s lawyers, who deny that they have anything to do with the attack, added: “Moreover, the defense of the question of the Government’s witnesses is also hampered by the Government’s actions. During the cross-examination of Shahla Mateen…they denied any knowledge of the relationship between the Seddique Mateen and the FBI. This was false and the Government knew it since Seddique Mateen was working with the FBI for eleven years or Seddique Mateen had kept this information from his wife – a situation ripe for cross-examination.”
U. S. District Judge Paul Byron rejected the defense of the motion for a mistrial on March 26, saying it had little influence on the process.
“This process is not about Seddique Mateen. It’s about Noor Salman,” Byron said.
Sweeney told the 12 jury members on 28 March that Mateen first goal was not Pulse, but Disney Springs.
“The purpose of that terrorist attack was not the Pulse of the nightclub. … The purpose of his attack was Disney,” Sweeney argued during the closing arguments, which the jury pictures of a pram and pop them believed Mateen planned to use in order to hide his weapons in Disney, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Salman, the defence of the lawyers said Sweeney’s information for the non-incident “less tragic” and argued that it had nothing to do with his wife’s knowledge of an attack.
“It is a terrible, random, senseless killing by a monster. But it was not pre-planned,” attorney Charles Swift said. “And if he didn’t know, she couldn’t know.”
Deliberations began after closing arguments around 2 a.m. on March 28.
Fox News’ Phil Keating and The Associated Press contributed to this report.