ORLANDO, Fla. — Prosecutors said they'll rest their case Thursday in the trial of Noor Salman, the widow of the Pulse Orlando gunman, after jurors heard from almost a dozen government witnesses Wednesday.
The case hinges on whether Salman, 31, knowingly helped her husband, Omar Mateen, plan the June 12, 2016, nightclub attack. Mateen was killed by police after 49 people were fatally shot.
Salman has pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding the support of a foreign terrorist organization resulting in death and obstruction of justice. She faces life in prison if convicted.
Mateen's mother and one of his sisters testified Wednesday about their communications with him and Salman leading up to the massacre.
Both women said that they would have called police if they knew he was planning an attack.
Shala Mateen, the gunman's mother, used an umbrella to hide her face from news cameras as she left the courthouse.
She told jurors about her last conversation with her son hours before the massacre and of the lie she was told about where he was that night.
"If ur mom calls, say Nimo invited you out and Noor wants to stay home," Salman said in a text message to Mateen. The text message was later deleted from her cellphone.
"Deleting text messages is never good for the defense," WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said. "The jury may assume she's deleting them to cover up her participation."
Mateen's sister testified that Salman told her the same thing.
Prosecutors aim to convince jurors that Salman came up with a cover story.
FBI Agent Kim Rosecrans specialist testified that Mateen used his cellphone to Google Islamic State group websites the night of the attack.
The agent said Mateen googled "how to remove bullet lodged in barrel" during the shooting. Police have previously said that his long-gun jammed during the attack.
"May Allah accept me," Mateen posted on Facebook during the massacre.
Defense attorneys said during cross-examination that Google searches should be put into context.
They showed that Mateen also visited online dating and pornographic sites, which they hope will help convince the jury that Salman didn't know what Mateen was up to.
"No woman would accept that," Susan Adieh, Salman's relative, said. "Every woman loves her husband and (who) cares about her husband would not want this."
The defense will begin presenting its case Monday.
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