US Noor Salman trial: 'We don’t know what was in that monster’s mind,' widow's defense says of Pulse gunman
Pulse nightclub massacre trial: Jurors asked about views on Islam
Five more jurors were questioned and taken out of the jury pool in Noor Salman's trial Monday morning. Salman, 31, is charged with aiding and abetting her husband, Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, and of obstruction of justice. Eighteen potential jurors are expected to come into the courtroom for questioning Monday.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Noor Salman — the widow of Pulse gunman Omar Mateen — is “trusting, simple” person with a low IQ, who had no idea that on June 12, 2016, “she would wake up a widow, and Omar Mateen a martyr for a cause that she didn’t support,” defense attorney Linda Moreno told Salman’s jury this morning.
Mateen’s intentions and motivations, Moreno said in her opening statement, were a mystery to his wife — and remain so to this day. “We don’t know what was in that monster’s mind,” she said. Moreno’s remarks stood in stark contrast to the opening statements of Assistant U.S. Attorney James Mandolfo, who during the government’s opening statement earlier this morning said that, when Mateen opened fire inside Pulse, he did so with the help of his wife.
Weighing fate of Pulse shooter's widow a 'huge decision,' potential juror says
ORLANDO, Fla. - Four more people were added Wednesday morning to the pool of potential jurors in the trial of Noor Salman, widow of Pulse gunman Omar Mateen - though one man expressed concern at facing the "huge decision" of determining Salman's fate. That juror said he also worried about whether his identity would remain secret, if he was chosen to serve in the high-profile case. "I don't Load Error
"This trial is about what the defendant knew," Assistant U.S. Attorney James Mandolfo told Salman's jury, during opening statements on the trial's ninth day. He said prosecutors would prove Salman and Mateen spent "thousands of dollars to prepare for the attack," and she knowingly hid her husband's intentions from his family and the police.
"The defendant's cold actions gave Omar Mateen a green light to commit these crimes on behalf of ISIS," he said.
Testimony is now beginning in Salman’s trial, after attorneys for the government and defense wrapped up their opening statements. Salman is accused of aiding her husband in the planning of the June 12, 2016, attack at Pulse, a gay nightclub, and also of lying to federal investigators in the hours afterward.
Jury chosen for trial of Pulse gunman Omar Mateen's widow
ORLANDO, Fla. - A jury has been chosen in the trial of Noor Salman, the widow of Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen. Through the trial's first eight days, U.S. Judge Paul Byron and attorneys questioned dozens of potential jurors, amassing a pool of 57 candidates who said they could be impartial in deciding Salman's fate. On Monday afternoon, 12 jurors and six alternates were picked to hear the case.The jurors were not present in the courtroom. Details of the jury's makeup - including the number of men versus women, the approximate ages of the jurors and their ethnicities - weren't immediately clear.Testimony in the case is expected to begin Wednesday.
"We don't have to prove that she took the same steps as Mateen. We don't have to prove that she's an extremist," Mandolfo said, adding that prosecutors would prove that Salman knowingly delayed the investigation into the nightclub shooting. "That is referred to as obstruction of justice."
Salman was in a unique position to prevent the killing, Mandolfo said.
"At 2:02 a.m., Omar Mateen calmly walked inside the Pulse nightclub... methodically killing 49 people and injuring 53 others," he said. "No one knew the horrific events that were going to unfold ... No one knew. Except two people," Mateen and Salman, he said.
Wednesday morning, Bob Kunst of Miami Beach stood near the federal courthouse on Central Boulevard, holding a pair of signs: "NOOR 'KNEW' NOW '49' KILLED" said one, while the other said, "'FRY' HER TILL SHE HAS NO 'PULSE.'"
Kunst was also present on the first day of a trial that otherwise hasn't drawn demonstrators, though survivors of the Pulse massacre and family members of those killed have been present in court.
Members of Salman's were also seen entering the courthouse today.
If convicted, she faces up to life in prison.
Salman is the only person charged in the attack. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police.
Mateen's conversations with a hostage negotiator, 911 audio from victims inside the nightclub during the attack and photos and videos of the carnage at Pulse are expected to be introduced as evidence in the trial. During the trial's first eight days, potential jurors were warned of the graphic materials they would likely see if chosen to decide the case.
Salman is not required to testify. She may if she chooses to, but the 12-person jury is not allowed to consider her refusal to testify as evidence of guilt.
Salman has pleaded not guilty and her lawyers and family have denied she had anything to do with Mateen's plot.
FBI agents said Salman confessed to having prior knowledge and being with Mateen when he scoped out Pulse and bought ammunition. Defense lawyers Charles Swift and Linda Moreno plan to call an expert on false confessions to testify that Salman's statements were not reliable. An expert on domestic violence is also expected to testify in support of the defense's theory that Mateen was so abusive that Salman was afraid to question his actions leading up to the attack, according to court filings.
However, in court Wednesday, Mandolfo said Salman knew Mateen had been looking at jihadist material that was so extreme, she would have to pull her 3-year-old son away from the room.
Mandolfo said Salman scoped out Disney Springs with her husband before the shooting. "He said, 'What would make people more upset -- an attack at a club or an attack at Disney?'" the prosecutor claimed.
Prosecutors have said they do not intend to argue Mateen's attack was targeting the gay community, but was instead a terrorist attack in the name of the Islamic State.
Jury sees texts between gunman, wife during Pulse massacre .
ORLANDO, Fla. - Noor Salman and her husband, Omar Mateen, exchanged text messages during his attack at Pulse, jurors in the widow's trial were shown Wednesday morning. At 4:27 a.m. - during a standoff with police more than two hours after Mateen first opened fire inside the nightclub - Salman texted Mateen, twice asking, "where are you?" The exchange happened about the time Fort Pierce police woke her up with a phone call, asking her to exit their apartment."Everything ok?" Mateen replied.Salman responded, reminding her husband that he had work the next day. His mother was "worried and so am I," she wrote. Mateen responded: "You heard what happened.
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