The widow of the shooter who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., has been indicted on a federal terrorism charge, court documents unsealed Monday reveal.
Noor Salman, whose husband Omar Mateen rampaged through the LGBT hotspot last June, faces the possibility of life in prison for allegedly helping him provide “material support” to the so-called Islamic State. She was arrested Monday in California and made an initial court appearance Tuesday, looking dejected and confused for the 15-minute hearing, according to the Associated Press. She did not enter a plea.
The grand jury’s indictment, which was filed under seal Thursday in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida, states that Ms. Salman aided and abetted her husband’s actions for months leading up to the attack, beginning at least as early as late-April 2016. A second charge, obstruction of justice, alleges that Salman misled the FBI and local police during their investigation following the massacre.
Jeffrey Addicott, the director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, says the charges suggest prosecutors view Salman’s statements to police and the press – including an interview with The New York Times in which she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse – as inadequate to explain away her alleged complicity in the violence.
“The material support act is usually charged with people that are actively conspiring and engaging in the violence, so this tells me that her involvement runs a whole lot deeper, other than, ‘My husband was abusive. I knew he was involved in radical Islamic thinking,’ ” Dr. Addicott tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview Tuesday. “They’ve got to…