The FBI has quietly released a 12 page statement signed by Noor Salman that says she knew her husband, Omar Mateen, planned to attack the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The confession says she helped him plan the attack.
Salman, however, signed the “confession” written by an FBI agent for her after hours of questioning without an attorney. Her lawyers are arguing that the admission should not be allowed into evidence, saying the agents coerced her into signing it.
FBI Special Agent Ricardo Enriquez questioned Salman for hours the day of the attack and says he wrote down what she said “in her own words.” None of the interview was recorded on video or audio.
Enriquez said that she told him Mateen had been visiting extremist websites, but denied knowing anything further. But when he asked her to sign his notes and add a paragraph at the bottom to say it wasn’t coerced, he was surprised when he discovered what she had written.
“I am sorry for what happened,” she wrote. “I wish I could go back and tell his family and the police what he was going to do.”
“I realized, when I read that, that she knew,” Enriquez said in court. He said he went back to her to say she should come clean and confess what she knew and threatened her with prison time for lying to the FBI.
Salman’s story changed to include trips to Orlando to scope out potential targets and that she saw him leaving home that night with ammunition and his gun. The confession says that Salman and Mateen drove around the club for about 20 minutes.
Salman’s lawyer, however, questioned the confession, saying it included “facts” that were simply untrue.
“It would shock you if it wasn’t true?” Salman’s defense attorney asked Enriquez in court. “It would shock you if the GPS said they never went near the Pulse nightclub?”
“I just wrote down what she told me,” Enriquez said.