ORLANDO, Fla. — The foreman of the jury in the Noor Salman trial emailed a statement to Channel 9 Friday afternoon to explain the acquittal from a juror's perspective.
The man didn't give his identity, but he provided a photo of himself, which was confirmed to be him by Channel 9 reporters who covered the trial.
The foreman said he commented on the trial after watching news coverage of reactions to the verdict.
"I want to express my deepest sympathy to family and friends of the victims of this senseless tragedy," the foreman said. "I understand the desire to hold someone accountable for this heinous act of violence. Omar Mateen is dead. He cannot be punished. It is only logical the world would look next to Noor Salman."
The foreman described the trial as difficult.
"We listened carefully to opening arguments, testimonies from both prosecution and defense witnesses, viewed many exhibits and heard closing statements," he said. "We received many pages of documentation from the court outlining very specific instructions related to the charges and how we should apply the law."
The foreman said jurors discussed jury instructions, courtroom notes and evidence during deliberations.
"A verdict of not guilty did not mean that we thought Noor Salman was unaware of what Omar Mateen was planning to do," he said. "On the contrary, we were convinced she did know. She may not have known what day, or what location, but she knew."
"However, we were not tasked with deciding if she was aware of a potential attack," the foreman said. "The charges were aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice."
The foreman said prosecutors and defense attorneys did an "excellent job" of presenting their case.
"I wish that the FBI had recorded their interviews with Ms. Salman as there were several significant inconsistencies with the written summaries of her statements," the foreman said. "The bottom line is that, based on the letter of the law, and the detailed instructions provided by the court, we were presented with no option but to return a verdict of not guilty."
Cox Media Group