'Extraordinarily Rare' Move in Case of Orlando Shooter's Wife

Noor Salman ordered released from jail until trial
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 2, 2017 5:28 AM CST
'Extraordinarily Rare' Move in Case of Orlando Shooter's Wife
In this June 12, 2016 file photo, law enforcement officials work at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., following a mass shooting.   (Chris O'Meara)

A federal judge in California said Wednesday that it is "debatable" whether the government has enough evidence to convict a woman of helping her husband plan the Orlando nightclub rampage, ordering her released from jail until trial. US Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu also said Noor Salman, 31, is not dangerous and there is no proof she has ties to the Islamic State group or holds extremist views. Salman has been charged with helping husband Omar Mateen plan the worst mass shooting in modern US history and lying to investigators. She has pleaded not guilty and faces life in prison if convicted, reports the AP. Prosecutors have said Salman accompanied Mateen on scouting trips to the nightclub and other possible targets—including a Disney attraction—and told FBI agents she was aware of Mateen's plans.

But the judge said Wednesday that prosecutors have provided no evidence: no transcripts, recording, or video of Salman's 16-hour interrogation after the June 12 attack. Salman's attorney says it is unusual for bail to be granted in terror-related cases: "It's extraordinarily rare and a statement of the government's case." Prosecutors say Salman initially said she didn't know anything about the attack but later told investigators that Mateen abused steroids, was "pumped up" on that night, and said "this is the one day" as he walked out the door. They're also said the couple ran up $25,000 in credit card debt and spent $5,000 in cash in the days before the shooting. Among the purchases: an $8,000 diamond ring for Salman. Salman's release is on hold for at least two days to give prosecutors time to appeal. (More Pulse Orlando shooting stories.)

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