ORLANDO, Fla. — An indictment filed on Jan. 12 against the widow of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen was unsealed in California federal court Tuesday.
The indictment alleges that Noor Salman, 30, "did knowingly aid and abet" her husband's attempt to give "material support" to terrorist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Salman faced a judge Tuesday morning, and she is scheduled to reappear in court Wednesday.
Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group during the standoff at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, where 49 people were killed and dozens more were injured.
"(Salman) did knowingly engage in misleading conduct ... with the intent to hinder, delay and prevent the communication to federal law enforcement officers and judges of the United States of information relating to the commission and possible commission of a federal offense," the indictment said.
Salman is charged with obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting the attempted provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Salman's uncle, Al Salman, spoke outside the courtroom on Tuesday. He said his niece was a "simple and innocent" woman who was physically and mentally abused by Mateen.
Reporter Shannon Butler posted this clip of what he had to say:
The FBI arrested Salman Monday at her parent’s home in California, where she was living with her 6-year-old son.
While there, federal agents said they confronted her with video of her and Mateen purchasing ammunition.
Sources told Channel 9 that Mateen left the home with a bag of guns while Salman begged him not to go.
Salman was booked into the Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County without bail. She will be transferred from Northern California to the Middle District of Florida, the FBI said.
Salman's former special education teacher, who asked not to be identified, came to the woman's defense, saying she didn't have the mental capacity to comprehend what was happening.
"I thought, 'She is incapable of being an accomplice, absolutely incapable,'" the teacher said.
But some neighbors said they were not surprised.
"I kind of thought since she's living that close to somebody and married to him that she may have known more than she's putting out," said neighbor Catherine Lawrence. "(I'm) not surprised after kind of hearing all about it."
Salman's attorney said that Salman had dealt with years of abuse by Mateen.
“You can bet the defense attorneys are going to use anything they can in her defense, including this claim that she was abused,” said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.
Sheaffer said the claims are expected to be discussed during Salman's trial in Orlando.
However, Sheaffer said the claims may only be used to try to reduce a possible sentence of life in prison.
“That may well go towards mitigation of sentence than guilt or innocence,” said Sheaffer.
Salman is of Palestinian origin. She moved to the U.S. from Jordan in August 2006.
Watch interviews with neighbors in California below:
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