USA Today reports:
A handwritten statement given to the FBI by the wife of Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen says she saw him prepare for the deadly attack for months and knew that the LGBT nightclub was his target.
The 12-page statement, quietly released by federal authorities at the end of December in a batch of records in the case, was taken hours after the June 12, 2016 shooting. The attack left 49 dead and dozens of others injured. Noor Salman was questioned for hours, without a lawyer, after authorities learned her husband was the gunman behind the attack.
She was arrested last year on federal charges of providing material support to a terrorist and tampering with evidence but has pleaded not guilty, claiming she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She said Mateen abused her and claims she did not know of his plot.
But her defense conflicts with the signed statement she gave to the FBI, which details her knowledge of Mateen’s planning and his path to carry out an attack on behalf of the Islamic State.
The Orlando Sentinel reports:
After hearing testimony Thursday and Friday, a federal judge will decide whether jurors will see statements the widow of the Pulse nightclub shooter made to FBI agents the day of the attack.
Noor Salman is facing charges of aiding a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice. Her husband, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured dozens more at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, and was shot and killed by police after a three-hour standoff.
Her attorneys argued that everything she told the FBI in the hours after the attack should be excluded from trial because she was in custody and not given proper Miranda warnings. US attorneys argued that she was not in custody, free to leave at any time, and that all her statements were voluntary.
Judge Paul Byron said Friday that he would read over testimony, review evidence and announce his decision in a written order. He did not say when he expects to release that order.
Also from the Orlando Sentinel:
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.
“I knew when he left the house he was going to Orlando to attack the Pulse Night Club,” Salman said, according to a statement written by an FBI agent and signed by Salman during the 18-hour interview.
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.