ORLANDO, Fla. — Jurors returned to Orlando’s federal courthouse Tuesday to hear more testimony in the case against the widow of Pulse gunman Omar Mateen.
The case hinges on whether Noor Salman, 31, knowingly helped her husband plan the June 12, 2016, attack.
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.
FBI Special Agent T.J. Sypniewski interviewed Salman after the mass shooting.
He testified Tuesday that Salman showed no emotion when he told her that Mateen was killed in the attack.
Sypniewski also said that while interviewing Salman she said she had bought ammunition with Mateen once at Walmart.
"This is the first evidence that if the jury finds credible, they can conclude that this was an overt act on her part in furtherance of that mass shooting," WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said.
Defense attorneys have maintained that Salman never purchased the ammunition, that she was shopping for other things during that trip to Walmart and that buying ammunition for Mateen's work gun wasn't unusual because he worked as a security guard.
"She wasn't involved in Omar's terror attack," relative Susan Adeih said. "She never was involved, and things are coming out."
There was also testimony Tuesday about Mateen taking Salman to a PNC Bank in early June 2016 to add her as a death beneficiary to his accounts.
Prosecutors tried to show that Salman knew her husband was going to die when they went on a spending spree.
Two jewelers testified Tuesday that Mateen used a credit card to buy Salman diamond earrings and two diamond rings, one of which cost more than $7,000.
The mother of a friend of Mateen testified Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Salman mentioned “Nemo” in a text to Mateen the night of the attack, saying, “If your mom calls, say Nemo invited you out and Noor wants to stay home."
Nemo's mother testified that on June 11, while in a mosque, Mateen's mother asked her if she had seen her son and if he was with Nemo.
But Nemo's mother said her son was in Washington, D.C.
Prosecutors said that proves Salman was aware of what Mateen was preparing to do and was helping him create a story.
The defense argues that Mateen always lied to his wife about being with Nemo when he was out cheating on her.
The defense also argued that it was Mateen who told her the story, and that Salman was just repeating it in the text because her mother-in-law was asking her where her son was.
FBI agent Ricardo Enriquez testified again Tuesday.
Enriquez claimed that he had little information about the attack when he interviewed Salman.
Defense attorney Charles Swift played a news conference from the morning of the attack to try to show that Enriquez might have known more than he was letting on, and that the questions to Salman were leading or misinterpreted.
Afterward, FBI Special Agent Marco Rodriguez testified. He oversaw the evidence collected from Mateen’s home, where authorities said they found cellphones, two (gun) magazines and two computers.
He testified that Mateen's computer browsing history indicated that he visited jihadi websites and watched videos showing the Islamic State group executing prisoners.
Jurors were shown a Father’s Day gift that Salman said she bought for Mateen. The card read, "Daddy, I love you a lot. You do so much for me and mommy. May Allah bless you and protect you.”
The defense said the gift is important evidence because it shows Salman did not know what Mateen planned to do, posing the question, “Why would she buy that if he was planning an attack and would certainly be arrested or killed?”
Salman family representative Susan Clary said the government's case falls short.
“The government has shown us a lot of dramatic video and interesting witnesses, but so far, they have not proved their case," she said. "We are still waiting for them to prove the elements of the crime and we have not seen that."
Prosecutors plan to rest their case Wednesday or Thursday.
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