Wife of Orlando gunman in court, uncle says she’s innocent

The wife of the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, appeared in court on Tuesday (January 17) accused of committing a crime by assisting her husband ahead of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Noor Salman, 30, was not present for the June 2016 attack. But she faces up to life in prison if convicted of aiding and abetting husband Omar Mateen’s attempt to provide material support to a terrorist organization, federal prosecutors said.

She also is charged with obstructing justice for lying to authorities investigating the massacre, according to prosecutors.

The first person charged by U.S. authorities in connection with the shooting, Salman did not enter a plea at her initial court appearance in Oakland, California. Dressed in a yellow t-shirt and gray sweatpants, she spoke only to acknowledge she understood the proceedings.

Her uncle Al Salman spoke to reporters outside of the court and said, “We believe in her. When she said ‘I’m innocent’ we know she’s innocent.”

Salman was arrested on Monday in California, where she was living with her mother in the San Francisco area, according to her uncle, Al Salman, who denied she played a role in the attack.

Salman said his niece, a U.S. citizen and the daughter of parents who immigrated from the West Bank in 1985, was physically abused by Mateen.

Mateen was killed in a shootout with police after he took hostages during a three-hour standoff in the Pulse nightclub. He wounded dozens more in the shooting, which intensified fears about attacks by Americans inspired by Islamic State.

Noor Salman’s indictment, unsealed on Tuesday, was returned last week by a federal grand jury in the U.S. Middle District of Florida, which includes Orlando.

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Categories: Florida, gunman, News, Noor Salman, Omar Mateen, Orlando Gunman