ORLANDO, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) - Jurors have acquitted a woman accused of aiding her husband's terrorist attack at an Orlando nightclub.
Noor Salman, 31, was charged with obstruction and providing material support to a terrorist organization, stemming from husband Omar Mateen's attack at the Pulse Nightclub in June of 2016, which left 49 people dead and dozens injured. Police killed Mateen after the attack.
Prosecutors argued that Salman knew about Mateen's plans and did nothing to stop them. Her lawyers say she had no knowledge and was mentally and physically abused by him. They say she wasn't an Islamic extremist.
The verdict comes after three days of deliberations. The case was being tried in federal court, under the supervision of U.S. District Judge Paul Byron.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina released this statement in response:
"I believe in our criminal justice system and am grateful for the jury's hard work and thoughtful deliberation.
Nothing can erase the pain we all feel about the senseless and brutal murders of 49 of our neighbors, friends, family members and loved ones. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida and the FBI, who have worked tirelessly on this case in the quest for justice.
Our community is strong, and the men and women of the Orlando Police Department stand ready to put themselves in harm's way to protect our residents and visitors."
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also released a statement:
We can never bring back the 49 innocent victims whose lives were taken on June 12, 2016, or erase the pain that the horrific act brought to so many, but hopefully the conclusion of the trial can help our community continue the healing process.
We remain committed to ensuring those who have been directly impacted by this tragedy, receive the support and care that is needed.
Anybody who is seeking help, should know they can reach out anytime to our Orlando United Assistance Center (OUAC) 24 hours a day, 7 days week, at 407-500-HOPE. Our advocates and mental health providers are standing by ready to help.
This is a community and a City that cares deeply for each other and we will continue to exhibit love and kindness in everything that we do and be a symbol of hope to the world.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said,
"I am disappointed in the outcome of the trial and know that the victims and/or their families are more disappointed. This has been an emotional event for our community and many feel that justice has not prevailed; however, the system of justice has spoken and we should look to the continued healing for the families and our entire community so that this event will not define us."
Pulse owner Barbara Poma released this statement:
I respect the criminal justice process, and we all have to trust that the jury made its decision free of bias and emotion. Those of us directly affected by this tragedy must find peace in our hearts and remember that he was the one who pulled the trigger that night. He was the perpetrator, and he should not have one more minute of power over our lives.
This verdict cannot and will not divide us. The survivors, families, and first responders as well as the community of Orlando and everyone around the world must now focus on the work ahead of us. We will always carry the pain of what happened at Pulse, and we will never forget those who were taken. We will wrap our arms around all affected today and in the days to come.
It will be difficult, but we will focus now on healing, and we will continue to work to help communities emerge from violence and hate. It is as important today as it was 21 months ago.