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Florida club shooter's widow, Noor Salman, stands trial

By Daniel Uria
Florida club shooter's widow, Noor Salman, stands trial
Noor Salman, the widow of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, stood trial Wednesday to determine whether she knew of or helped her husband plan the attack that killed 49 people. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

March 14 (UPI) -- Noor Salman, the widow of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, stood trial Wednesday to determine her role in the attack.

A total of nine people including survivors took the stand on the first day of the trial to determine whether Salman knew of or helped her husband plan the June 11, 2016, shooting in Orlando, Fla., which left 49 people dead.

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"None of the victims knew the horrific event that would unfold that night. Law enforcement didn't know ... No one knew. Only two people knew: Omar Mateen and Noor Salman," Assistant U.S. Attorney James Mandolfo said.

Mandolfo and the prosecution alleged Salman knew Mateen was an extremist and was with him when he purchased guns and ammunition and while he cased locations, including the Disney Springs shopping center.

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"He said, 'What would make people more upset -- an attack at a club or an attack at Disney?" Mandolfo said Salman told FBI agents.

Salman's defense lawyer Linda Moreno argued she is a "trusting, simple" woman who tested with an IQ of 84 and had no idea "she would wake up a widow, and Omar Mateen a martyr for a cause that she didn't support."

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Moreno said Salman believed the "casing" trips were family outings and the money Mateen spent was in anticipation of a new job he was due to start.

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She also called the FBI's hours-long questioning coercive and said she would present the jury "forensic evidence" of cellphone data disproving Salman's statements to the FBI.

"We believe the evidence in this case will allow you to have several reasonable doubts that fly in the face of common sense," Moreno said. "You will have reasonable doubt."

The defense also presented Salman's Facebook posts to show she didn't subscribe to her husband's radical ideology.

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"I don't consider the people that do terrorist attacks Muslim ... Islam is a peaceful and beautiful religion if followed right," Salman wrote in one post.

Testimony is expected to span three weeks and if Salman is convicted she could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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