Widow of Pulse Nightclub Gunman Omar Mateen to Remain in Custody, Court Orders Psychological Evaluation

She has been in custody since she was arrested in January.

ByABC News
February 1, 2017, 7:24 PM

— -- Noor Salman, the jailed widow of Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen, will remain in custody and undergo a psychological evaluation, a judge ruled today after her lawyers appeared in federal court in California fighting for her release on bond.

Salman, who appeared in court wearing a red jumpsuit with an orange T-shirt underneath, looked back at her family members who were in attendance. She and her family members cried when they saw each other. Salman wrote notes to her lawyers during the hearing.

Salman, who has been in custody since she was arrested by the FBI in the San Francisco area last month, has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges against her.

The U.S. attorney's office claims Salman aided and abetted Mateen's "provision of material support" to the terrorist group ISIS, also known as ISIL, for which she could face life in prison if convicted.

Salman is also accused in the indictment of misleading federal agents and Fort Pierce, Florida, police officers who questioned her about Mateen's attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016.

The mass shooting killed 49 people. Mateen was killed in a police shootout after the attack.

The government today claimed Salman knew her husband watched ISIS recruitment videos.

Prosecutors said she engaged in scouting activity by going to Pulse with Mateen. They also said she saw him leave the house the night of the massacre with a gun and a backpack filled with ammunition. Salman knew her husband was going to commit an attack and said she had a false cover story for that night, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors also said Salman poses a danger to the community and is capable of fleeing with her son.

Defense attorney Linda Moreno said at a news conference after the hearing that what the government presented today was a case against Mateen, not Salman. Moreno said the government's statements were based on "speculation" and statements prosecutors "claim she made during an 18-hour interrogation" conducted without counsel.

Salman's defense attorneys had hoped for her release on bond into the custody of her mother or uncle, both of whom say they are willing to put up their houses as collateral.

Salman's attorneys said in court papers that she "poses no danger" and is only connected to the crime through what they called "her tragic marriage" to Mateen. She was, the defense argued, "only present as a wife and an abused wife at that."

The defense said it was also prepared to challenge the substance of the charges and what it describes as the public narrative of Salman’s purported involvement. Defense attorney Charles Swift cited what he called erroneous reports that Salman drove Mateen to Pulse nightclub for Mateen's "purported scouting trip."

“The defense proffers that the evidence will show that the purported scouting trip occurred while the family was on their way home from babysitting the children of a relative, that Mateen chose to drive into Orlando and to pass by the Pulse Night Club, and that Noor, who did not possess a driver’s license at the time, was at most a reluctant passenger who wanted to go home," the defense said in court papers.

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