The widow of the gunman who slaughtered 49 people at a gay Orlando nightclub was acquitted Friday of helping her husband plot the attack and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation afterward, ending the government's almost two-year effort to hold someone accountable.
Noor Salman was charged with obstruction and providing support to a terrorist organization. His final kill count was 49, and he left 58 injured.
This month, FBI Special Agent Ricardo Enriquez testified that Salman told investigators she was aware her husband was preparing to commit a violent act - and said she'd wished she "had done the right thing".
Law enforcement officials at the scene of the Pulse nightclub in June of 2016.
She had been accused of giving misleading statements to law enforcement officers who interviewed her following the massacre, which at the time was the deadliest mass shooting in modern USA history.More news: MLS: Zlatan Ibrahimovic's dream LA Galaxy debut sends Sweden wild
"Why would Omar Mateen confide in Noor, a woman he clearly had no respect for?" "Noor can go home now to her son, Zack, resume her life and try to pick up the pieces", a spokesman for Noor Salman's family said after the verdict.
Defense attorney Fritz Scheller told reporters the victims' families were "extraordinary people" and thanked them for their decorum and dignity.
"It's a terrible, random, senseless killing by a monster", Swift said during closing arguments.
In the statement, authorities claim Salman said Mateen carried out the attack in the name of ISIS.
Fellow defense attorney Charles Swift said he was impressed with the jury's attentiveness and the seriousness that they showed during the trial.
It was the second day of deliberations in the Noor Salman trial. They said Salman is not capable of being "calculating", "deceptive" or "able to connect the dots".More news: Bodies of 39 Indians killed in Iraq to reach India today
"On the contrary we were convinced she did know", the statement continued. "Her only sin is she married a monster", Moreno said. The case against her mainly consisted of a so-called confession she made to the police after intense questioning for over 17 hours.
"Nothing harmful would come out of her", a friend of Salman's who was identified only as Ms. Ahmed told jurors.
But the defense portrayed her as an easily manipulated woman with a low IQ and argued that she signed a false confession because she was exhausted after extensive questioning and feared losing her young son. A judge rejected motions to either dismiss the case or order a mistrial earlier this week.
Sweeney said Mateen's initial plan was to attack Disney Springs, a commercial district adjacent to Disney World.
Beyond Salman's confession, the prosecution's case was relatively thin, resting on circumstantial evidence that Mateen and Salman were anticipating a major, potentially fatal event in the 11 days leading up to the shooting: During that period, the couple racked up purchases and cash withdrawals that added up to more than Mateen's annual salary as a security guard, while also adding Salman as a death beneficiary to Mateen's bank account.More news: Malala Yousufzai visits hometown in northwest Pakistan