The wife of the man who murdered 49 people and injured more than 50 others at an Orlando nightclub in June 2016 has been found not guilty Friday on all counts. She had been charged with obstruction and providing material support to a terrorist organization.
Prosecutors in the case argued that Noor Salman had known about the attack before it happened, and even helped her husband prepare for it. The defense argued that she was ignorant, and a victim of circumstances. The trial started two weeks ago, and jury deliberations began on Wednesday.
If she had been convicted, Salman would have faced the possibility of life in prison.
Salman was arrested in January 2017, months after her husband opened fire at Pulse in June 2016. Police, responding to the attack, killed Mateen.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney had argued that "the defendant didn't pull the trigger that night, but she did serve as a green light for her husband."
Salman’s own attorneys had tried to paint her as “simple minded" with a low IQ, and as someone who is easily manipulated. Defense attorney Linda Moreno argued that Salman’s “only sin is she married a monster.”
They did admit that she mislead the FBI during the early days of the investigation, but argued that it was out of fear. Salman initially signed a confession stating that she knew her husband was buying weapons and planning for an attack, but she later retracted this.
Judge Paul Byron told the jury that in order to convict Salman, they would have to determine "that she participated in it as something that she wished to bring about, and that she sought by her actions to make it succeed."
Although she did not testify during her own trial, Salman released a statement denying any malice:
"I wish I had done the right thing, but my fear held me back. I wish I had been more truthful.”
During the course of Salman’s trial, a video shown to the court revealed that Salman’s husband had originally planned to carry out his attack at Disney World, but was deterred by the amount of security.
Salman, 31, married the man responsible for the Orlando massacre in 2011. They had one child together.
This is a developing story and will be updated