A jury in Orlando has found Noor Salman, the wife of Pulse nightclub mass shooter Omar Mateen, not guilty on federal charges of aiding and abetting Mateen’s 2016 attack. (Mateen killed 49 people before he was shot and killed by responding officers.)
The trial was marked by two revelations that the FBI had kept potentially exculpatory evidence hidden. Salman “confessed” under interrogation in the days after the shooting to having helped her husband case the site of his future attack on June 8, 2016, but investigators did not disclose until trial that cellphone records that were obtained soon thereafter showed that neither Salman nor Mateen went near Pulse on that date. Prosecutors subsequently also publicly admitted that at the time of the attack Mateen’s father had been a confidential FBI informant for 11 years, including during the period in 2013 in which the FBI investigated tips about the younger Mateen before concluding that he was not a threat.
The jury determining Salman’s fate deliberated for 12 hours before reaching its decision. She could have been sentenced to life in prison if convicted.