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Orlando club gunman's wife knew of massacre plot: prosecutors

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 17/01/2017 LEONARD GREENE
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Orlando shooter Omar Mateen's widow knew ahead of time about her husband's sick plan to kill as many people as he could, and did nothing to stop him from murdering nearly 50 people at the popular Pulse nightclub, prosecutors charged Tuesday.

Noor Salman deliberately misled police on the day of the June 12 attack, a plot she learned of at least two months before it took place, according to court documents.

Salman, 30, "did knowingly aid and abet" her husband's efforts to carry out the attack in support of ISIS, the international terrorist group, according to a two-count indictment unsealed by federal authorities.

Mateen killed 49 people and wounded scores more in the gay club massacre before a hostage-holding standoff that ended with him being killed in a shootout with authorities.

Salman was arrested early Monday at a Bay Area home where she was staying with her mother and 4-year-old son. Her arraignment had been delayed to accommodate her attorney. She appeared disheveled in court, in a yellow shirt and gray pants, and said little.

Officials said she had moved from Fort Pierce, Fla., after her husband's killing spree.

Omar Mateen's wife was arrested early Monday at a Bay Area home where she was staying with her mother and 4-year-old son. - Chris O'Meara/AP © Provided by New York Daily News Omar Mateen's wife was arrested early Monday at a Bay Area home where she was staying with her mother and 4-year-old son. - Chris O'Meara/AP

Outside the federal courtroom in Oakland, the suspect's uncle, Al Salman, professed her innocence, and said she had been in the dark about the attack.

"She doesn't know what was going on," the uncle told reporters. "She is a very simple person. If she knew what that crazy guy would do, she wouldn't be here. She would take her son and run away from him."

Salman's lawyer, Linda Moreno, said her client was a victim who had no prior knowledge of the attack.

"Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands," Moreno said in a statement. "We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person."

The shooting took place during Latin night at the popular gay nightclub. Many of those killed were young, gay people of color.

Mateen, 29, described himself as an "Islamic soldier" in 911 calls recorded during the shooting. The attack was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

With News Wire Services

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