Wife of Pulse Nightclub Gunman Omar Mateen Pleads Not Guilty

Gunman Omar Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, was arrested Monday in California.

ByABC News
January 18, 2017, 2:30 PM

— -- Noor Salman, the wife of Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen, entered a not guilty plea to the federal charges against her, through her public defender John Paul Richmond, who represented her in court today.

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. 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 attack killed 49 people; Mateen was killed in a police shootout after the attack.

Salman -- who was wearing a red prison jumpsuit today -- did not speak in court. As she was taken out, she waved and blew a kiss to her uncle, Al Salman, who waved and blew a kiss back.

It was announced today that once certain paperwork is completed, Salman will be represented by attorney Charlie Swift, who was present in the back of the courtroom. Swift will, however, preside next to Salman during a pre-trial interview today.

Salman's next hearing was set for Feb. 1. Until then, she will remain in custody in California.

She is expected to be extradited to Florida, where the indictment was filed.

Salman was taken into custody by the FBI on Monday. On Tuesday, charges against her were read aloud in court.

On count one, she was charged with aiding and abetting Mateen's attempted provision and provision of "material support or resources" to a foreign terrorist organization. For this count, she could face up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

"She knew he was going to conduct the attack," Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg said in court.

On count two, she was charged with obstruction of justice. She could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

When Judge Donna Ryu asked Salman Tuesday if she understood the charges, she quietly replied, "Yes."

Linda Moreno, another attorney for Salman, said in a statement to ABC News on Monday, "Noor Salman had no foreknowledge, nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to do that tragic night. Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands. We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person."

Al Salman on Tuesday called his niece a "very simple person" who is "not that smart." He was adamant that she was clueless about Mateen’s plan.

He told ABC News today that when his niece's son saw the news on TV of his mother's arrest, "he hid behind the couch."

He said he spoke to his niece last night on the phone. "She said she needs some clothes because she's cold, and then she asked about her son," he said.

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