Update, 4:21 p.m.
The widow of the Orlando nightclub gunman knew about the attack ahead of time, prosecutors said Tuesday as she appeared in court to face charges of aiding and abetting her husband in the months before the rampage last June that left 49 people dead.
Noor Salman, 30, stood before a federal judge under tight security, looking downcast and bewildered. She did not enter a plea. When she was led back to jail, she locked eyes with her tearful uncle.
“She knew he was going to conduct the attack,” federal prosecutor Roger Handberg told the judge. Handberg did not disclose any more details and would not comment after the 15-minute hearing, held in a courtroom packed with security officers.
A judge scheduled another hearing Wednesday to discuss her possible release ahead of trial, her transfer to Florida to face the charges, and the appointment of a lawyer.
Charles Swift, director of the Richardson, Texas-based Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, planned to represent her at that hearing, said public defender John Paul Reichmuth, who served as her attorney during Tuesday’s proceedings.
Linda Moreno, a Florida attorney who also represents Salman, said after Salman’s arrest that the widow “had no foreknowledge nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to do that tragic night.”
Update, 9:58 a.m.
Federal prosecutors have unsealed a two-count indictment against the wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter.
The document says Noor Salman, between April and June of last year, “did knowingly aid and abet” her husband’s attempt to support the Islamic State group
Update, 9:54 a.m.
Federal prosecutors accuse wife of Orlando nightclub shooting of misleading police, FBI about the attack.
The wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter was arrested Monday by the FBI, a U.S. law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
The official said Noor Salman was taken into custody Monday morning in the San Francisco area and is due in court Tuesday in California. She’s facing charges in Florida including obstruction of justice.
The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Noor Salman moved to the San Francisco area after her husband, Omar Mateen, was killed in a shootout with SWAT team members during the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
He was the only shooter, and by the time a three-hour standoff between Mateen and law enforcement had ended, 49 patrons were killed and another 53 people required hospitalization.
Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group during the standoff.
Prior to the attack on Pulse, a handful of other U.S. gay bars had been targeted, including Neighbours, a popular gay nightclub in Seattle. It was packed with New Year’s Eve revelers on Dec. 31, 2013, when a man poured gasoline on a carpeted stairway and set it ablaze. No one was injured; Masub Masmari was sentenced to 10 years in prison for arson.