Orlando nightclub attacker's wife could face life in prison on new charges

Noor Salman, the wife of the Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen, could face life in prison on charges against her in a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday, as prosecutors said she deliberately helped her husband's terror plans while trying to keep police and the FBI off their trail.


Salman, 30, "did knowingly aid and abet" her husband's attempts to support the Islamic State terror group, the two-count indictment unsealed on Tuesday stated. It also charged her with obstruction of justice. The indictment painted a much different picture from her claim she was clueless about his intentions.

The "aiding and abetting" charge signals that the feds believe she played a major role in the attack, a former federal prosecutor told FoxNews.com. "If you give somebody a gun knowing that they are going to use it to rob a bank, in the eyes of the law you are just as guilty as the bank robber," John Malcolm, Director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, said.


Mateen died in a shootout with police after he killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at the Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. The FBI arrested his wife at her home in Rodeo, Calif., on Monday morning.

As for the obstruction charge, prosecutors said Salman "knowingly" misled police and the FBI about the massacre.

Salman briefly stood before a federal judge in Oakland Tuesday; her appearance was continued until Wednesday. Her attorney Linda Moreno said she "had no foreknowledge nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to do that tragic night."

Salman's uncle, Al, also stressed his niece had no idea what her husband was planning. "I raised her, I know. I know she's innocent."

However, she drove him to the nightclub at least once before the attack, a law enforcement source told Fox News. In addition, she reportedly shopped with her husband at a Walmart where he bought bullets.

The couple also texted each other during the massacre, investigators said. Mateen reportedly asked his wife, "Do you see what's happening?" She was said to have replied, "No?", as Mateen responded, "I love you, babe."

Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call during the three-hour standoff that ended in his death.

"I was unaware of everything," Salman told the New York Times in November. "I don’t condone what he has done. I am very sorry for what has happened. He has hurt a lot of people."

FoxNews.com's Malia Zimmerman, Fox News' Claudia Cowan in Oakland and The Associated Press contributed to this report.