Noor Salman, the widow of Omar Mateen, has been found not guilty, CNN reports.
Salman was charged with obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting Mateen in providing of material support to a foreign terror organization. If she had been convicted, she could have been sentenced to life in prison.
She cried when the verdict was read, and so did her attorneys and her family. “I said that day one, that she’s innocent,” her uncle Al Salman said. “I came here to tell you I told you so.”
Victims and family of the victims of the Pulse shooting sat in “stone-faced silence,” according to the New York Times. None of them talked to the media as they exited the courtroom.
In 2016, Mateen entered an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killed 49 people in what was then the most deadly mass shooting in history. He was killed by police.
After an 11-hour interrogation by the FBI, Mateen’s widow confessed to knowing about Mateen’s plans and helping him scout out the Pulse. She was arrested in January, 2017, and has spent the last 14 months in prison.
But the trial didn’t proceed as the prosecution hoped. The FBI presented evidence that Salman’s confession was false – GPS and cell phone data showed that she had never been to the Pulse and that Mateen didn’t know about it before he left to go attack another nightclub.
Closing arguments were presented on Wednesday, and the prosecution presented another theory of the crime, claiming that Salman helped Mateen by serving “as a green light for her husband.”
The jury deliberated for twelve hours over three days and returned a “not guilty” verdict this morning.
Salman’s uncle said that he would be getting a therapist for her. “I don’t know how she’s going to make up for two years,” he said.