Uncle says Orlando shooter's widow is innocent

The widow of a terrorist who killed 49 patrons of an Orlando, Fla., nightclub in June pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that she knew of her husband's attack in advance and lied about her involvement.

Salman failed four lie detector tests and was subjected to IQ and other psychological tests to determine her intelligence and state of mind before prosecutors filed federal charges against her, the source said.

Noor Salman entered her plea Wednesday in an Oakland, California, courtroom two days after her arrest at the home she shared with her mother in suburban San Francisco. Dressed in a yellow t-shirt and gray sweatpants, she spoke only to acknowledge she understood the proceedings.

She will return to court February 1 to argue for her release pending trial on the charges that could result in a life sentence if she is convicted. He said Salman's husband Omar Mateen was abusive, but she did not know he was being radicalized. She did not comment, nor did her uncle, Al Salman, who addressed the media on Tuesday to proclaim his niece's innocence. SWAT officers killed him following a three-hour standoff.

It was unclear what she was doing in California and her case is expected to be transferred to Florida.

Charles Swift, director of the Texas-based Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, planned to represent Salman at that hearing, according to public defender John Paul Reichmuth, who served as her lawyer during Tuesday's proceedings.

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Federal Bureau of Investigation agents previously accused Salman (pictured, right, two days after the shooting) of scoping out the nightclub with her husband before the attack.

Mateen, who lived in Fort Pierce, Florida, with Salman and their young son, was self-radicalized and acted alone without assistance or orders from overseas, according to US authorities.

While there, federal agents said they confronted her with video of her and Mateen purchasing ammunition. The indictment specifies that if convicted of the aiding and abetting charge, Salman must forfeit assets related to "supporting, planning, conducting, and concealing the offense".

For her part, Salman told the New York Times in an interview published in November past year that she knew her husband had watched ISIL videos but that she was "unaware of everything" regarding his intent to shoot up the club.

He said she remained in the marriage because she feared losing custody of the couple's 4-year-old boy.

  • Alfonso Moody