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Pulse jury will soon announce verdict in widow's trial

02 April 2018

Noor Salman, the widow of the Florida nightclub gunman, walked free on Friday after a jury cleared her of charges related to the massacre that killed 49 people nearly two years ago.

A family spokeswoman said after the verdict that Noor Salman will go home to California to be with her son.

Salman also advised Mateen to lie to his mother when she inquired about his whereabouts on the night of the shooting, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say Salman knew about Mateen's plans and did nothing to stop them. "We stood by her and that's what she is", expressed Al Salman, one of her uncles.

Between this apparent shift in the prosecution's narrative, the Global Positioning System data, and the defense's claim that Salman was the naïve and neglected wife of an unfaithful husband - who had no need or reason to seek her assistance in his crime - the jurors found reasonable doubt about her guilt after just 12 hours of deliberation.

"We just felt that the prosecution didn't provide sufficient proof to meet the burden of proof required by the letter of the law", the jury foreman said.

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Salman was charged with providing material support to the Islamic State and with obstructing justice.

The verdict took three days of deliberation by the jury before they declared her not guilty of both counts. Salman allegedly wrote to an FBI investigator that she was sorry.

The family said it did not know when or if Noor Salman would be returning to the Bay Area.

"It's a awful, random, senseless killing by a monster", Mr Swift said during closing arguments. Hours later, she walked out of Orange County jail, her head bowed as she held hands with defense lawyer Fritz Scheller.

Central to the case were statements Salman made to Special Agent Ricardo Enriquez at an Federal Bureau of Investigation office in the hours after the attack.

On the other side of the courtroom, the families of the victims of the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting sat stone-faced and silent.

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According to prosecutors, Mateen meant to attack Disney World's shopping and entertainment complex by hiding a gun in a stroller but became spooked by police and chose a new target.

"I knew when he left the house he was going to Orlando to attack the Pulse nightclub", the statement said. They said Salman is not capable of being "calculating", "deceptive" or "able to connect the dots".

Officials from U.S. District Court in Orlando said Friday that the jury had reached its decision and it will be announced in about 30 minutes.

In one of multiple failed attempts at a mistrial, Salman's attorneys argued the government never told them that part of the statement had been proved false. To prosecutors, she was a willing accomplice who gave her husband a "green light" to carry out the attack. She finally signed a 12-page statement that outlined her knowledge of Mateen's planning and his idolization of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Moreno also suggested that investigators had tampered with and planted evidence to make Salman seem like a guilty accessory to the crime.

Prosecutors argued the messages show Salman was helping her husband concoct a cover story to tell his parents, who had invited the couple to a fast-breaking dinner at their mosque.

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Pulse jury will soon announce verdict in widow's trial