Potential Salman Juror Dismissed, Believed Gunman Targeted LGBTQ Community
A potential juror was excused in the Noor Salman trial after revealing a connection to the LGBTQ community. Salman is the widow of the Pulse gunman.
Juror #211 told the judge that she had a close family member that is LGBTQ and married with a partner and her perception that the shooter targeted the gay community would prevent her from being impartial in the case.
U.S. District Judge Paul Byron indicated prosecutors might argue the shooter Omar Mateen was instead motivated by terrorism. He dismissed the juror when she said she "couldn’t be certain" she would remain impartial during the trial.
The shooter’s widow, Noor Salman, is charged with aiding and abetting her husband and obstruction of justice.
The defense filed a motion this week arguing that Mateen scouted other targets, not just gay clubs. The court filing states Mateen visited Disney Springs and another downtown Orlando nightclub ahead of the Pulse shooting. The judge hasn’t ruled on the motion.
The judge wants around 50 or 60 people in a potential pool before finalizing the 12 jurors and 6 alternates. When the court recessed for lunch Thursday, the judge had 44 members in the pool after interview 84 potential jurors.
Opening arguments could start next week. The trial is expected to last around three weeks.