Pulse massacre: Judge to rule on statements made by killer’s widow
The widow of the Pulse nightclub shooter is arguing the statements she gave to investigators after the attack shouldn’t be allowed at her upcoming trial.
Noor Salman is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice. She has pleaded not guilty.
In a court hearing Friday, Salman’s attorneys tried to convince a judge that the statements she made to investigators on June 12, 2016, were obtained unlawfully. A federal judge is deciding whether to allow those statements after hearing testimony and arguments on Thursday and Friday.
According to CNN affiliate WESH, defense lawyers argued that Salman felt like she was in custody during the 12 hours to spoke to police and the FBI, and should have been advised of her Miranda rights.
Prosecutors argued Salman gave her statements voluntarily, CNN affiliates reported.
On Thursday, an FBI agent testified that Salman said two days before the attack that she walked in on her husband while he was looking at the website for the Pulse club in Orlando, where he would kill 49 people and wound more than 50 others.
Her husband told Salman, “This is my target,” the agent said, according to CNN affiliate WFTV’s report. He said she told him she knew an attack was “close.”
Statements that appear to be initialed by Salman and entered into evidence reveal that her husband, Omar Mateen, had been planning a jihadist attack for two years and the couple had driven around Pulse during the week before the massacre.
Salman wrote: “Omar was driving around slowly, looking around and at one point stated ‘how upset are people going to be when it gets attacked.’ ”
Salman didn’t testify at the hearing, held in the Middle District of Florida.
Neither set of lawyers spoke to the media after court Friday due to an order not to comment publicly about the case.
Mateen, used a semiautomatic rifle in an ISIS-inspired attack at the Pulse club during the early morning hours. It was one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history. Mateen, who talked with police negotiators during the attack about his motivations, was killed by law enforcement officers several hours after the shootings began.
One of Salman’s attorneys said in January that she didn’t know of her husband’s plan.
“Noor Salman had no foreknowledge nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to do that tragic night,” said family attorney Linda Moreno of Tampa, Florida, in a statement. “Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands. We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person.”
Salman and Mateen married in 2011, settled in Florida, and had a son, who is now 4 years old.