The Strange Story of the Orlando Terrorist’s Wife
Not long after Omar Mateen went all jihad at an Orlando nightclub, questions were raised about his wife, Noor Salman, the most important being if she knew what her husband was up to and, if so, why she didn’t tell anybody. Not long after the militant Islamist attack, she went into hiding, and presumably the FBI knew her whereabouts. At the time, there was evidence that she knew her husband’s plans.
Noor Salman, the wife of Omar Mateen, the man who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in US history, reportedly told the FBI that she was with her husband when he went to buy ammunition and a holster before the attack on an Orlando gay nightclub.
She said that she had tried to talk him out of attacking the nightclub, Pulse, and that she had at one point driven there with him.
NBC News first reported the development on Tuesday, citing several law enforcement officials familiar with what Salman has told the FBI.
She didn’t resurface until a year ago, when she was arrested by the FBI for “obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting by providing material support to a terrorist organization”, and she remains behind bars. In her defense, she played the “I’m stupid” and “I’m abused” cards:
One of Salman’s family members told NBC News that she is a simple person who should be seen as a victim, too.
In an interview with the New York Times in November, Salman said that she met her husband, the son of immigrants from Afghanistan, on an Arab dating site and that six months into their marriage, he began beating her.
Although she was with him when he bought bullets at Walmart and scouted out the club in Orlando, she told the newspaper, “I was unaware of everything.”
I’m inclined to believe that she was abused by Mateen, given that his previous marriage was abusive and short, but that doesn’t mean Ms. Salman is innocent. She had to know something was up, and 49 human beings are dead because she did nothing. I can’t say how dim of a bulb she is, but her “I’m was unaware of everything” comments aren’t believable now that we know of her twelve-page handwritten statement to the authorities. Here’s a brief excerpt:
“I knew when he left the house he was going to Orlando to attack the Pulse nightclub,” Salman said in the released statement obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
“I knew on Saturday, when Omar left the house about 5 p.m. that this was the time that he was going to do something bad. I knew this because of the way he left and took the gun and backpack with ammunition … ” Salman said, according to the statement she signed.
Salman, who was charged with aiding her husband and providing support to a foreign terrorist organization along with obstructing justice last year, has pleaded not guilty.
Her lawyers are fighting the use of the statement during her trial on the grounds that she was not read her Miranda rights while she was in custody.
About one week before shooting, Salman said she and her husband drove around City Place and Pulse nightclub with the windows down. On both occasions, Mateen made comments about the public response to a club being attacked.
She was not arrested at the time and her statements were voluntary. Since the “I wasn’t read my rights” excuse probably won’t hold water in court, she and her lawyers are now trying “false confession” defense.
A Miami psychologist and expert on false and coerced confessions will be allowed to testify in the trial for the Pulse nightclub shooter’s widow.
Bruce Frumkin is likely to testify that Noor Salman’s statements to the FBI in the hours after the shooting June 12, 2016 — that she knew about her husband’s planned attack — were not true.
U.S. Judge Paul Byron ruled in the defense’s favor Friday to allow Frumkin to testify, Salman’s lawyer Charles Swift said. The hearing was closed to the public.
Swift declined to say what Frumkin will testify about, but in previous hearings defense lawyers argued that Salman’s statements to the FBI in the hours after the attack should be excluded from trial. She was in custody and not given proper Miranda warnings, her lawyers said. U.S. attorneys argued that she was not in custody, free to leave at any time, and that all her statements were voluntary.
Swift left the courthouse flanked by Frumkin and defense lawyer Fritz Schellar. The judge also agreed to unseal Frumkin’s report but gave no timeline, Swift said.
I get that she wants to stay out of jail, and she has a kid, but she knew her husband was plotting mass murder, she told no one, and 49 are dead. She has to pay. She needs to be in a jail for a long time, whether she’s stupid or not, or abused or not.
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