ORLANDO, Fla. — Defense attorneys for Noor Salman filed a motion late Monday afternoon that reveals their theory behind the June 12, 2016, massacre at Pulse Orlando nightclub.
The case hinges on whether Salman knowingly helped her husband, Omar Mateen, plan the attack. She faces charges of aiding the support of a foreign terrorist organization resulting in death and obstruction of justice.
Salman's lawyers argued in a motion that Mateen didn't select his target until he arrived to Orlando.
They said Mateen visited Epcot, Disney Springs and a downtown Orlando nightclub before carrying out an attack at Pulse Orlando.
Salman's attorneys believe Mateen's actions show that his wife didn't know what he was planning, one of four points that the defense argued in the motion. Each argument revolves around when Mateen made the decision to target Pulse Orlando and his movements that night.
Her lawyers seek to prevent prosecutors from including in their opening statements the accusation that Mateen targeted Pulse Orlando because it was a gay nightclub.
The motion said credit card and cellphone data show Mateen visited Disney Springs and Epcot on June 11, 2016, hours before the massacre at Pulse Orlando.
Mateen conducted Google searches that night before traveling to Pulse Orlando, including a search for directions to EVE Orlando.
Salman's attorneys argue that Mateen considered other locations and decided to attack Pulse Orlando once he arrived to Orlando.
"The spirit of the motion is to indicate that 1). she didn't know of his planned attack, and 2). if she did know, she did nothing to aid and abet him in the furtherance of that attack," WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said.
Defense attorneys also seek to have the judge toss statements about Salman being present while Mateen bought ammunition for a 38-caliber pistol on May 31, 2016, and that Salman was made a beneficiary of Mateen's bank account on June 1, less than two weeks before the massacre.
Sheaffer said he doubts the motion will have a major effect on the case.
"A court is not likely to prohibit the government from presenting their theory of the case and what they believe the evidence is going to show in opening statements," he said.
The motion said that Salman's statements to investigators during an interrogation don't match evidence about what happened in the hours before the mass shooting, and the statements support their argument that she didn't play a role in choosing Pulse Orlando.
Seven women and two men were admitted to the jury pool Monday, bringing the total to 22 people -- 13 women and nine men.
Eighteen more potential jurors will be questioned when jury selection resumes Tuesday. The process of admitting 56 people to the jury pool could last through the week.
Testimony could begin as soon as the middle of next week. The trial is expected to last until April 10.
Cox Media Group