Pulse nightclub shooter's wife found not guilty

Wife of Pulse nightclub killer Omar Mateen found not guilty of aiding husband's attack that left 49 people dead

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. She had faced a sentence of up to life in prison.

Salman was arrested seven months later for aiding and abetting Mateen and for obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors said Salman also apologized in the statement for "not [being] truthful in the start about what Omar was planning". Her attorneys argued there was no way she knew her husband would attack the nightclub because even he didn't know it until moments before.

It didn't matter if Salman knew her husband's target, Sweeney said.

"We're very sorry for the family members and friends of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, and also the survivors of that disgusting attack", said Susan Clary, Noor's family spokeswoman.

Jurors deliberated over three days before reaching their verdict.

Defence attorney Fritz Scheller speaks with members of the media following the acquittal of the Pulse Nightclub gunman's widow Noor Salman in Orlando on Friday. It's a disgusting, random, senseless killing by a monster.

Investigators were told by her that Mateen wasn't radicalised, but it emerged he had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group before he was killed.

Ms Salman's statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the hours after the attack appeared to play a key role in the case.

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.

According to the New York Times, Salman "openly sobbed" when the final not-guilty verdict was read, as did family members present in the courtroom and her defense attorneys. She wept and heaved as her attorneys, one of them also crying, embraced her. "I wish I had been more truthful", she wrote in the statement, which was shown in court. They also heard his conversations with an Orlando police negotiator, in which he declared his support for the Islamic State, blaming US military strikes in the Middle East for the attack.

Bruce Frumkin, a forensic clinical psychologist, testified Tuesday that a lack of sleep, mental issues, low IQ scores and lengthy interrogations contribute to false confessions. Her lawyers said she had no knowledge and was mentally and physically abused by him. She said Salman's alleged confession was "clearly coerced" and added: "Cops screw up their own cases". Salman, a 31-year-old who was born in California to Palestinian parents, denied the charges, saying she was not aware of her husband's plan. His intended target was the Disney Springs complex, prosecutors said.

Salman's attorneys argued that she was just a "simple-minded" victim.

"On this Good Friday, the family wants to say we're very sorry for the family members and friends of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting and also the survivors of that frightful attack", a representative from Salman's family said.

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