Noor Salman trial: Prosecutors wrapping up their case, will finish Thursday

- According to evidence presented to a jury Wednesday, the man who shot and killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub exchanged text messages with his wife during the attack.

Prosecutors are trying to prove that Noor Salman had knowledge of Omar Mateen's plans. Her attorneys have argued that her husband kept secrets from her.

The Orlando Sentinel reports from court that Mateen's last text to his wife before he was shot and killed by police:  "I love you babe."

Prosecutors called Mateen’s sister, Sabrina Abasin, to the stand. Abasin stated that she typically saw Mateen a few times a week, and Salman often accompanied him. She described Salman as friendly, a good,  attentive mother. Abasin said Salman often babysat her two children, and the children loved her, she said. 

Abasin testified she never heard Mateen discuss violent acts or terrorism. She also said Salman never expressed concern that Mateen may commit an act of violence.  Abasin said she went to mosque on the evening of June 11 to break fast and pray.  She saud she texted Salman, who replied that Mateen was going to dinner with his friend, "Nimo."

In cross examination, Abasin was asked if she trusted Salman, to which she replied, "yes." She also said Salman was more “modern” in her religious practices and said she celebrated secular holidays, like Halloween. She said that, in groups, Salman typically stayed around the children.  When asked if she would describe Salman as “simple,” Abasin replied, “yes.”

Mateen’s mother, Shahla Mateen, was next on the stand. She said she typically saw her son on his days off from work, and Salman about the same amount. She stated Salman was typically in charge of the kids.

Like Abasin, Mateen said she never heard her son talk about violence or terrorism. The last time she saw him was on June 11, at around 3 pm. She called Salman around 5 p.m. that evening, and she was given the same “Nimo” explanation. Salman said she was staying home to put her son to bed early.

Mateen attended the same event at the mosque on June 11, where she ran into Nimo’s mother. Nimo’s mother said Nimo was out of town, and Mateen thought Omar lied to her.  

In cross examination, Mateen gave similar answers to Abasin regarding Salman. She said Salman was a committed mother who viewed her son as her number one priority. She described Salman as childish, someone who liked to spend more time with kids than adults. Mateen confirmed that she viewed Salman as naive, innocent, and told Salman she needed to be more mature.

Under questioning, she stated this was not Mateen’s first marriage. She stated the first marriage was a “love marriage,” and ended in divorce. The first wife’s parents came down to pick her up when the marriage ended. The defense asked if the parents claimed they were taking their daughter back because she was being held hostage. Shahla Mateen denied this, saying the family was nice. 

The defense also asked about FBI questioning of Omar Mateen in 2013. Mateen's mother stated that her husband went with Omar to that questioning.  She described Salman’s demeanor when she arrived at home following FBI questioning. She stated Salman was in shock, cold, and wanted to see her son right away. 

Shahla Mateen was visibly distraught leaving the court room, and was emotional throughout her testimony.

A day earlier, jurors got an inside look at the Omar Mateen's condo and some the crime scene photos taken as FBI agents searched the home.

The trial, which began last Wednesday, is on its sixth day. Prosecutors could finish presenting their case against Salman on Wednesday or Thursday, meaning a verdict is possible sometime next week.

Salman is on trial in federal court for aiding and abetting her husband and with obstruction of justice, for lying to federal agents. She's pleaded not guilty. If convicted, she could get life in prison.

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