Widow of Orlando nightclub gunman knew of his plans, prosecutors say

Pulse survivor 'That night I was helpless'

Widow of Orlando nightclub gunman knew of his plans, prosecutors say

The trial for the widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, began on Wednesday morning with prosecutors claiming she knew what he was planning.

But a defense attorney for Noor Salman said she was a "simple woman who loved children" and did not know that her husband, Omar Mateen, meant to carry out the Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016.

Noor Salman, widow of Omar Mateen, faces up to life in prison if she is convicted in U.S. District Court in Orlando of aiding and abetting her husband and obstructing a federal investigation into the June 12, 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub. They also say she lied and tried to mislead Federal Bureau of Investigation agents.

"The defendant's cold actions gave Omar Mateen the green light to commit these crimes" on behalf of Islamic State, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Mandolfo told jurors. She has pleaded not guilty.

It is now up to prosecutors to prove Noor Salman knowingly helped her husband in the attack the killed 49 people and left more than 50 injured. The trial is scheduled to last three weeks.

The defense plans to argue that Salman was abused by her husband and was afraid of him.

Thirty-one-year-old Noor Salman is charged with aiding and abetting her deceased husband Omar Mateen in planning the 2016 attack on the Pulse nightclub.

In court papers filed on Tuesday defense lawyers asked that prosecutors not be allowed to tell jurors during opening statements that the shooting rampage was intended as an attack on the gay community or that Salman took part in her husband's gun and ammunition purchases.

"It was Mateen, not Noor, who made a decision to attack the Pulse Night Club, Mateen who chose to drive to the club, Mateen who purchased the weapon and ammunition, and Mateen who alone carried out the attack", the defense said in court filings.

Mateen, 29, opened fire shortly after the last call for drinks on the club's popular Latin night. Salman is charging with providing material support to a terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.

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