The widow of the man responsible for the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last June knew of his plans, prosecutors claimed this week.
On Tuesday Noor Salman made her initial appearance in court, where she is facing charges of obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting her husband. Prosecutors alleged she accompanied her husband on scouting trips for targets, including Disney World and the Disney Springs shopping complex.
“She knew he was going to conduct the attack,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg told Judge Donna Rya, who refused Salman’s request for bail and ordered a psychiatric evaluation.
According to federal prosecutor Sara Sweeney, Mateen asked his wife whether attacking the Disney mall would have a bigger impact than the gay nightclub. Sweeney added that Salman watched him leave their home with a gun and a backpack full of ammunition on the night of the attack.
Though Salman initially insisted she didn’t know anything about her husband’s plans, she later reportedly told police “I knew when he left he was going to commit the attack.” She said Mateen used steroids and was “pumped up” before the June 12 attack.
The couple ran up $25,000 in credit card purchases in the days before the shooting, including a $8,000 diamond ring for Salman. Mateen also made her the death beneficiary of his bank accounts.
Defense attorney Charles Swift insists Salman’s confession is inadmissible, as she made it without the benefit of a lawyer during an 18-hour interrogation immediately after the attack.
He says his client was abused by her husband and knew nothing of his murderous plans. Swift also argued that, as a security guard, it wasn’t uncommon for Mateen to carry guns and ammunition in and out of their home.
“We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person.”
Salman, who faces the possibility of a life sentence, has pleaded not guilty.