Jurors Begin Day 2 of Deliberations in Pulse Shooting Trial
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jurors deliberated a second day in the trial of the Orlando nightclub shooter’s wife and began Thursday with more questions for the judge about the law.
Noor Salman is charged with obstruction and providing material support to a terrorist organization. She faces up to life in prison if convicted of all charges.
The jury received the case Wednesday and talked about it for about three hours. Shortly after convening Thursday, the jury asked about the meaning of “willful” and for an example of aiding and abetting. The judge refused to give the panel an example but did explain the meaning of “willful” for them.
On Wednesday, jurors asked to review Noor Salman’s statement and the judge printed out copies for them.
“I’m glad they’re asking questions as opposed to not, right? More questions is better than no questions,” said Susan Clary, the spokeswoman for Salman’s family.
Her attorneys fought to keep the FBI statement out of the trial. They say it was coerced and she signed it because she was tired and feared losing her young son.
Prosecutors said the statement showed she knew about Omar Mateen’s attack and did nothing to stop it.
“The last two years, Omar talked to me about jihad,” Salman said, according to the statement.
Prosecutors said Salman and Mateen scouted out potential targets together — including Disney World’s shopping and entertainment complex — and she knew he was buying ammunition for his AR-15 in preparation for a jihadi attack.
In the hours after the shooting, she lied to the FBI about the number of guns her husband had and his internet use, which included watching beheadings and visiting Islamic State group websites.
Defense attorneys described Salman, who was born in California to Palestinian parents, as a simple woman with a low IQ. She was abused by her husband, who cheated on her with other women and concealed much of his life from her, they said.
Attorney Charles Swift said there was no way Salman knew that Mateen would attack the Pulse nightclub because even he didn’t know he would attack the nightclub until after he went to his initial target, the Disney Springs complex.
“It’s a horrible, random, senseless killing by a monster,” Swift said. “But it wasn’t preplanned. The importance to this case is that if he didn’t know, she couldn’t know.”
During the trial, prosecutors said Salman advised Mateen to lie to his mother when she inquired of his whereabouts on the night of the shooting.
They said Mateen, who was born in New York to Afghani parents, intended to attack Disney World’s shopping and entertainment complex by hiding a gun in a stroller but became spooked by police and instead chose the gay club as his target.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney said Salman “knowingly engaged in misleading conduct” when she spoke to the FBI in the hours after the attack.
Mateen, who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, was killed by police in the hours after the Pulse shooting.
Earlier this week, defense attorneys asked the judge for a mistrial after they found out that Mateen’s father had been an FBI informant for years. The judge rejected the request, saying the trial was about Salman, not Mateen’s father.
Salman did not testify in her defense.
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