Orlando shooter's wife pleads not guilty to aiding husband

Darin HammondJan 19, 2017

The widow of Orlando nightclub killer Omar Mateen pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting his slaughter, and interfering with the subsequent FBI investigation Wednesday.

California federal prosecutors maintain that Noor Zahi Salman new about her husband Omar Mateen's sick intentions, which left 49 people dead and another 68 injured in the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub.

According to the New York Times, which broke the news on Monday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Salman in the San Francisco area where she had been living, Salman "shook visibly" at her initial appearance in Oakland, California on Tuesday.

In the indictment unsealed on Monday, Salman was accused of aiding and abetting Mateen in providing material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group between April and June of a year ago.

A judge scheduled another hearing Wednesday to formally appoint a lawyer to represent Salman, discuss transporting her to Florida to face federal charges and her possible release pending trial.

Salman is now expected to be extradited to Florida where a grand jury indicted her and her husband shot attendees at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The indictment did not provide more details.

Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others in what became the deadliest mass shooting in USA history. She also said she was with him when he bought ammunition.

Linda Moreno, a Florida lawyer who also represents Salman, said after the arrest that Salman "had no foreknowledge nor could she predict what Omar Mateen meant to do that tragic night".

Her family and her lawyers say she's innocent - a naive victim of domestic abuse who knew nothing about Mateen's intention to mount an attack in the name of ISIS.

In a phone call to 911 as the attack was ongoing, Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Salman's husband, Omar Mateen, died in a shootout with police after killing 49 club patrons.

Speaking to reporters following the hearing, Swift declined to comment on extradition until he is appointed Salman's attorney.

Her attorney says Salman had no advance knowledge of the attack.

For her part, Salman told the New York Times in an interview published in November previous year that she knew her husband had watched ISIL videos but that she was "unaware of everything" regarding his intent to shoot up the club.

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