Defense rests case in trial of nightclub shooter's widow

Image 1 of 3

Lawyers for the woman accused of helping her husband plan his June 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub have rested their case in her federal trial.

Noor Salman's defense rested after calling one expert Tuesday. Closing arguments are expected Wednesday.

Prosecutors told the jury that Salman knew her husband, Omar Mateen, was buying rounds of ammunition, helped him spend thousands of dollars before the attack on Pulse and knew about his plan when he left home before the shooting where he killed 49 people in 2016. They also say she lied in an attempt to mislead FBI agents and had knowledge of her husband's sick fascination with violent jihadist videos and terrorism.

Defense attorneys describe the 31-year-old mother as a simple woman with a low IQ who was abused by her husband.

Over the weekend, prosecutors revealed to the defense that gunman's father had been an FBI informant for 11 years before the attack. The defense tried to use this as grounds for a dismissal or for the judge to declare a mistrial in the case. The judge did not take that though and the case moved forward.

The Salman Family spokeswoman says that, "Noor Salman is someone who could have never masterminded the incredible thing that led to the deaths of 49 people."

Salman's two best friends even testified, saying that Salman was sweet, naive, and peaceful. Two women who claimed to have had affairs with Omar Mateen also testified, saying that Mateen never discussed politics or radical views.

Defense computer experts also testified, saying that there were no searches from Mateen or Salman about the Pulse Nightclub until just a few hours before the attack, when Mateen was already in Orlando. 

Salman's relatives believe that she is being scapegoated. Her uncle said that he is "really upset. They are using my niece, throwing her under the bus, to cover something else. I know my niece. From day one, I have been telling everyone that she is innocent."

The defense could rest their case today. If that happens, closing arguments could start as soon as Wednesday. 

Noor Salman is charged with aiding and abetting her husband, Omar Mateen. She's pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Salman faces life in prison