Noor Salman, wife of Pulse nightclub shooter, pleads not guilty

The wife of the gunman in the deadliest mass shooting in modern USA history pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges she assisted him ahead of the fatal shooting of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida and later misleading authorities. In it, prosecutors allege that she "did knowingly aid and abet" her husband's attempt to give "material support" to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Salman was arrested Monday at her home in Rodeo, 20 miles north of Oakland.

In a phone call to 911 as the attack was ongoing, Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

The couple lived in Fort Pierce, Florida, at the time of the rampage.

Charles Swift, director of the Richardson, Texas-based Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, planned to represent Noor Salman at the Wednesday hearing, said public defender John Paul Reichmuth, who served as her attorney Tuesday. He added, "She's a soft, sweet girl".

A judge scheduled another hearing Wednesday to formally appoint a lawyer to represent Salman, discuss transporting her to Florida to face federal charges and her possible release pending trial. She also went with her husband to buy ammunition at Walmart, but claimed she believed the ammunition was for target practice as part of his job as a security guard. 'She would not hurt a fly'.

Noor Salman arrested in California on aiding and abetting a terror organization. But she told The New York Times in November that she was unaware of his intentions until he sent her a 4 a.m. text message the night of the shooting, asking whether she had seen what happened on the news. In an initial appearance on Tuesday, Salman told Ryu that she understood the charges against her, but did not enter a plea.

Salman was not facing our crew and her hair was covering her face. He died in a shootout with police after a 3-hour standoff at the club.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he hoped the arrest "provides some comfort to the families who are mourning their loved ones".

However her family and her attorney Linda Moreno insist the young woman - who grew up in California and who had a four-year-old son with Mateen - had no prior knowledge of the attack and was herself the victim of domestic abuse. 'But today, there is some relief in knowing that someone will be held accountable for that horrific crime'.

  • Audrey Hill