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Acquittal of Pulse Shooter's Widow Is a Welcome Defeat for Overzealous Prosecutors

The case against Noor Salman, Omar Mateen's wife, was built on shaky grounds.

A federal jury has acquitted Noor Salman, widow of Pulse nightclub mass shooter Omar Mateen, of aiding and abetting his attack. Given the blatant misrepresentations in the government's case, the jury definitely made the right call.

The prosecution tried to portray Salman as a willing accomplice of Mateen, who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016. But unlike her husband, Salman had no history of Islamic radicalism. The case against her mainly consisted of a so-called confession she made to the police after intense questioning for over 17 hours.

Salman is highly suggestible and possesses a low IQ. Those factors made her an easy target for authorities looking to scapegoat someone for the actions of Mateen, who was killed during the attack. Far from being an accomplice, Salman was a victim of her husband's abuse.

The prosecution advanced the theory that Salman drove Mateen around to help him pick a location for the shooting, but the FBI learned that this was impossible. As The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain explained:

Using geolocation data from cellphone records and documentary evidence of the couple's whereabouts, the FBI had already concluded — long before Salman was arrested — that it was impossible that she went to Pulse with Mateen on that date. Indeed, the evidence, as The Intercept documented previously, is very clear that the first time Mateen ever went to Pulse was to attack it, after simply searching Google for "nightclubs downtown Orlando." The FBI agent also testified that Salman's cellphone records show she was never near Pulse.

The Intercept has done invaluable work debunking many of the falsehoods relating to the case that were spread by the public, the media, and the government. The notion that Mateen was secretly a self-loathing gay man who had frequented gay clubs, and Pulse in particular, now seems extremely dubious. He had probably never heard of Pulse, and chose it as an alternate target because his preferred location—Disney World—seemed too heavily guarded. Mateen might not have even understood he was attacking a gay club. According to The New York Times, he asked the club's security guard where all the girls were.

There were other issues with the government's claims. Prosecutors waited until after they had rested their case to acknowledge that Mateen's father, Seddique Matten, was a government informant. The FBI had previously investigated both father and son, raising the possibility that the agency might have once again missed key signs that something was amiss.

While certainly the correct outcome, it's difficult to convey just how surprising the Salman verdict is. The authorities have prosecuted 850 people for terrorism since 9/11. They only failed to score a conviction or a guilty plea a total of five times.

"While Salman's acquittal should be a cause for celebration for anyone who cares about basic justice and civil liberties," wrote Greenwald, "justice will not be truly served in this case until punishment is doled out to the prosecutors who purposely hid key facts from the court in order to keep her imprisoned for a full year, along with meaningful reforms to prevent future FBI deceit and manipulation regarding interrogations."

Photo Credit: Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom

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  • Douchebag McEvil||

    That whole dickbag's dad being a fucking rat thing probably helped her a lot.

  • Devastator||

    Lol being an informant against terrorist organizations is what passes for a 'rat' these days? LMFAO

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "justice will not be truly served in this case until punishment is doled out to the prosecutors who purposely hid key facts from the court in order to keep her imprisoned for a full year, along with meaningful reforms to prevent future FBI deceit and manipulation regarding interrogations."

    Guess justice ain't ever getting served, then, huh. Shit.

  • Jerryskids||

    I am outraged that Greenwald would defame our hard-working prosecutors and law enforcement officials in this manner. Perhaps there have been one or two bad apples in a rare case, but to imply that these sorts of abuses are regularly un-punished commonplace occurrences is beyond the pale. I am confident that the state bar is even now moving to have this prosecutor disbarred and the DoJ is readying the paperwork for firing these rogue agents.

  • ||

    Kamala Harris approves this message.

  • Tionico||

    One of the best uses of that new Sarc font I've seen yet. Well done......

  • Carter Mitchell||

    Jerry, if you really believe this, I've got a really nice bridge for sale, I'll give it to you at a 90% discount. Cash only, small bills please.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Punish someone. Anyone.

    It's 2018, where emotions are more important than reason and evidence (and reality), even worshipped as the end-all, be-all of our "identity."

    One protester's sign outside the court read, "'Fry' her till she has no 'Pulse.'" Sickness is strength now, too.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Referring to the "punishment" fetish in general in America. The prosecutors and law enforcement in this case, however, appear to have been acting in a predatory way, considering their 17 hour "questioning" of a person with below-average intelligence and general impressionability.

  • Eidde||

    Well, if the jury had a punishment fetish they didn't show it with their Not Guilty verdict.

  • Tionico||

    the jury saw through the FBI's corruption and skullduggery and were able to render this accurate verdict. NOW, to have the scalps of the dirtbags playing the system to look the heroes they are not.....

    This sort of reaction to that horrific shooting is of the same sort as the little kiddies dancing on their strings for their leftist handlers after their high school got shot up, the direct resule of FBI incompetence and laziness...... All that emotion and pent up frustration after such an event HAS to go somewhere... so why not find a suitable scapegoat, tar and feather HER, and get the latest Hero Trophy?

    Loookie here, we GOT someone we can FRY.. never mind she was not responsible.

    The biblical punichment for bearing false witness against someone is for the liar giving such false testimony is to have the punishment that WOULD have fallen on the falsely accused fall upon the false accusor. SO those lying dirtbag FBI whacks should get the jail time they tried to hang on HER....... and also serve the time she's already been in the lockup unjustly.

  • Devastator||

    It happens occasionally, but they have to basically hand over the evidence or be so blatantly obvious a state's attorney general just can't see any other way while under pressure from the masses. That's about the only way a crooked DA gets taken down. They are as loyal to each other (or know other people have dirt on them) just like corrupt cops.

  • DajjaI||

    Kids can act out in revenge if they think their parent is being unfairly harassed by the FBI. E.g. Cunanan (see FX's Versace, episode 8) and the Las Vegas shooter. And the JFK assassin felt his wife was being harassed. To prevent future massacres, we really need to identify these kids and give them a big hug.

  • Tionico||

    THE JFK ASSASSIN, singular? Get real. Oswald was framed, and in no way could have been in the two vastly dseparated places to fire the two shots from almost opposite directions necesssary to do the damage done to both Jack and John Connely.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Could this possibly indicate that the US governments MO and especially the Obama administration's MO is to downplay terrorist attacks by offering counter-narratives that they already knew were false? Can't be!

  • soldiermedic76||

    I think history will look back at the incestous relationship between the Obama administration and the media, how the latter was perfectly happy to carry water for, and run interference for the former, and judge it rather harshly.

  • American Mongrel||

    High yellow journalism?

  • soldiermedic76||

    I was thinking more about the laughable claim that Obama had noajor scandals (because the media buried them all).

  • chemjeff||

    In before Team Red blames "liberal Orlando jury which loves Muslims" for the verdict.

  • chemjeff||

    But evidently, not in before someone blamed Obama.

  • soldiermedic76||

    And how is the Obama Administration not at least partially at fault. They allowed this woman to be arrested knowing that she could not have done the tings the FBI accused her of. The fact is that the more we learn about the Obama DoJ the more crooked it appears. So tell me how the Obama administration is not guilty of this terrible miscarriage of Justice (fully admitting that the Trump administration could have stopped this too)?

  • Libertymike||

    It is the regime - the Empire.

    What decent intelligent human being would want to be one of Caesar's toadies? A prosecutor? An assistant United States attorney? An FBI agent? A Florida state trooper? An Orlando cop?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Add public school teacher to that list.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Take this with a grain of salt due to the source, but Wikipedia said Mateen got tracked into special ed classes early on because teachers identified him as being misogynistic and handsy. The guy's odds of living a normal healthy life were stacked against him early on.

  • Devastator||

    If you think there's any major difference between the Justice/Spooks between the Obama regime and the Trump regime you're living in a goddamn fantasy world. Politicians are all the same.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Well, considering the DoJ IG is actually investigating FBI misconduct, and has already recommended the firing of at least one crooked official. I would say there is a little difference, even if it is unintentional.

  • colorblindkid||

    The Obama administration played right into the "homophobia" angle to this entire thing, even though there was never any evidence. You think that Loretta Lynch and Obama didn't know his dad was an FBI informant? How is that part of this whole thing not a huge frickin scandal?!

  • soldiermedic76||

    It will be interesting to be around 50 years or more in the future to see what the historians say about the relationship between the media and the Obama administration. It may not even take that long if the trajectory of discovies of the administration's corruption continues as it has these past couple of months.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Also, are we surprised that the administration that labelled Maj. Hasan work place violence or blamed some poorly viewed YouTube video for the death of a serving US Ambassador (at least allowed members of it's cabinet to do such) would offer a false narrative here?

  • Tionico||

    not to mention the massive exportation, against all laws, of huge numbers of firearms purchased at retail FFL's in the US to the Mexican drug cartels, in particular the Sinaloa unit. Thousands of guns were "walked' across the border and into the hands of Sinaloa droguistas..... to later be found at crime scenes in both the US and Mexico..... to form the false narrative that US retail gun sales are driving Mexico's crime, thus providing "proof" we need to pass more "common sense' gun control laws. But this project broke the existing laws aginast such exports when not licensed under present "common sense" gun laws, so we need MORE such restrictions at law.

  • ||

    The Obama administration played right into the "homophobia" angle to this entire thing, even though there was never any evidence.

    There was plenty of evidence that "homophobia" was at least an also-ran as far as motivations go, in the choice of target if nothing else.

    But yes, the Obama administration front-loaded that motivation, along with "because we are awash in a sea of guns," and (deliberately) ignored any foreign connections or allegiances.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Actually, there is substantial evidence the shooter didn't even know it was a gay club. That pretty much destroys the homophobe motivation.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    Don't fuck with teh gayz, they will doxx you.

  • soldiermedic76||

    And this was actually his third choice of targets. His original target was Disney World, then he chose between the two nearest night clubs. He was originally headed to another but for reasons we will never know returned to this one.

  • Douchebag McEvil||

    Do you know anything about Orlando? That would make you capable of saying such a thing weren't possible?

    Or are you claiming such a result isn't possible anywhere.

  • John||

    I am sure the voices in your head say a lot of things.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    While certainly the correct outcome, it's difficult to convey just how surprising the Salman verdict is. The authorities have prosecuted 850 people for terrorism since 9/11. They only failed to score a conviction or a guilty plea a total of five times.

    Maybe this is evidence that we're finally getting over the fear and panic over anything remotely related to terrorism that's become SOP ever since 9/11. Or perhaps it's just that the prosecution so blatantly over reached this time that even the mouth breathers who typically get selected for juries could see it. Probably the latter.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Salman is highly suggestible and possesses a low IQ. Those factors made her an easy target for authorities looking to scapegoat someone for the actions of Mateen, who was killed during the attack. Far from being an accomplice, Salman was a victim of her husband's abuse.

    This is state-sponsored predatory behavior.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    You already said "state-sponsored," the "predatory" is implied.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Good point.

  • Jerryskids||

    "Highly suggestible and possesses a low IQ" is the description of many FBI dupes. Next time you hear of the Feds foiling a terrorist plot, dig into the story and you're likely to find there was an undercover FBI operative involved, The arrestee is going to be some schlub who doesn't know how to build a bomb, has no money to buy bomb-making material, lacks the intelligence to put together a bombing operation and was never enthusiastic about doing the things he was shooting his mouth off about. It will be the undercover FBI operative who procured the material, showed the guy how to make a bomb, and then coaxed him into carrying out a plan the operative came up with.

    And some people wonder where conspiracy theories come from.

  • Nardz||

    ^exactly this^
    Well said, Jerryskids.
    A couple years ago, in my more naive days (still very skeptical, but had a little bit of trust in "authorities") I was reading up on terrorist acts. I was on Wikipedia looking to get a timeline of terrorist incidents and plots in the US. I found the list of failed terrorist plots and clicked on a couple.
    They all shared the same pattern, almost exactly - the pattern Jerryskids describes.
    And I found this on fn Wikipedia

  • Tionico||

    This case is of a piece with the recent farcical trials, and eventual acquittals, of the Bundy Ranch accused... same sorts of tactics used by FBI and other Fed prosecutors to railroad these men, using similar tactics Read the judges decision regarding acquittal with prejudice.....and SCOLDING the FBI and BLM and other FedGov goon squad operatives, withholding evidence, falsifying other evidence, refusing to allow access during discovery, and extremenprejudice on the tiniest shreds of possible evidence.......and these men hs spent 700 days behind bars for these non-crimes. Its the same FBI and Fed prosecutors.

  • Libertymike||

    Unless the defendant is a soldier, cop, FBI agent, CIA, or high level public sector actor, the prosecutors should receive double the penalty of the accused if the latter is acquitted.

  • Libertymike||

    Where progressivism has really negatively impacted the quality of our lives and the quality of our justice is in the area of the intellectual rationales offered by the judiciary in support of the doctrines of absolute judicial immunity, absolute prosecutorial immunity, qualified prosecutorial immunity, qualified immunity for cops and other law enforcement officers, and sovereign immunity.

  • ||

    Are you trying to say no one should be above the law?

    *eyes Libertymike suspiciously*

  • gormadoc||

    Do you mean in general or just here? Because now I want to know your thoughts on how that works with the OJ Simpson case.

  • Libertymike||

    The idea is to make the prosecutor damn sure and to make sure that he or she face some kind of penalty for prosecuting a person who is found not guilty.

    Yes, their desire to do justice needs to be chilled.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    You are basically asking the court system to fix the court system. We have public trials for a reason. If every American watched a random trial near him a few times per year and blogged about it, judges would realize that people are paying attention and clean up their acts.

  • Tionico||

    Prosecutor had plenty of evidence, but OJ was able to produce and/or conjure up just enough to throw that evidence into question. And to convict, the jury MUST find on EACH matter beyond a reasonable doubt. Not just a preponderance.. that is, 51%ldldddk

  • soldiermedic76||

    Why would we treat those other groups differently? No soldier cop etc has ever been falsely accused? Or maliciously prosecuted? So innocent until proven guilty only applies to groups you prefer and shouldn't apply to those you dislike?

  • Libertymike||

    Of course, there have been and there are cops and soldiers falsely accused.

    My point is to drive home the absolute inviolability of not having one law for the Caesar and one law for the rest of us. Therefore, no special rules for cops or prosecutors and judges. They are held to a lesser standard. Can't have that.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Not sure why you even included service members in your tirade. Honestly, looking at the facts service members are held to a higher standard then any of the other group (or our elected officials) that you listed.

  • John||

    Just a reminder legally innocent is not the same as factually innocent. It is good to see that juries can still understand that.

  • DajjaI||

    This reminds me of when an FBI troll tried to convince me that the reason they have so much terrorism in the middle east is that the FBI only operates domestically.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    What a contrast to the George Zimmerman trial, when the enraged fugazis were throwing spittle all over DuPoint Circle.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Good point.

  • SIV||

    Female privilege .

  • sharmota4zeb||

    The case against her mainly consisted of a so-called confession she made to the police after intense questioning for over 17 hours.

    The mistake was questioning her at a police station. NJ law allows a hospital to detain a psychiatric patient for up to 72 hours without a court order. After that, the judge normally rubber stamps a commitment request that keeps the patient locked up for about 2 weeks before he sees a judge. That's plenty of time to get confessions, especially when you have the authority to inject mind altering drugs at a whim. These cops are amateurs compared to mental health professionals. We have ways to cure hate.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    The sarc tag did not get published on that last comment about locking people up to get confessions. I've got to review the code.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    The notion that Mateen was secretly a self-loathing gay man who had frequented gay clubs, and Pulse in particular, now seems extremely dubious. He had probably never heard of Pulse, and chose it as an alternate target because his preferred location—Disney World—seemed too heavily guarded. Mateen might not have even understood he was attacking a gay club. According to The New York Times, he asked the club's security guard where all the girls were.

    In all fairness, I've hear my straight neighbors brag about the girls they hooked up with at the local gay club. Plenty of beer ... dim lights ... it's an understandable mistake. Mateen probably expected the same type of girls to be a Pulse, based on this earlier experiences.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Lots of girls go to gay clubs if they just want to dance and drink without dudes bothering them. Some straight dudes go to gay clubs in case these girls change their minds. I, uh, heard.

  • Libertymike||

    No, you not only have heard, you have percipient knowledge thereof.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    I wonder if the IG is looking into the FBI's relationship to the Mateen family and the handling of this investigation?

  • soldiermedic76||

    They have much corruption, they'll need to hire more IGs.

  • JeremyR||

    I'm skeptical you can be married to a terrorist planning a mass killing and not be aware of it.

  • Tionico||

    which family members had a clue about the recent school shootings, that Texas church shooting, or eventhe Las Vegas debacle?

  • Carter Mitchell||

    What's truly amazing is how the government screwed up so badly, and allowed people with actual intelligence on the jury.

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