Justice, justice you shall pursue… — Deuteronomy 16:20
BREAKING: Noor Salman is found not guilty of all charges
— Melissa Jeltsen (@quasimado) March 30, 2018
Jeltsen did an excellent piece of long form reporting on Salman that really gets into the details of why she was even charged.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Noor Salman looked up as the prosecutor directed the jury’s attention to a copy of her 2011 marriage certificate. There, on the screen, was her looping signature, right next to Omar Mateen’s. Proof she wed a killer.
The 31-year-old widow shivered and hiked a purple blanket up to her neck, glancing over at her team of defense attorneys for reassurance. They often soothed her in court with physical touch, squeezing her shoulder or patting her arm. Her fear was palpable.
Later, Salman watched herself on the same screen, testing perfumes at Victoria’s Secret. In the security camera footage shown to the jury, she sniffed a paper strip, then passed it to her husband for his thoughts. He must have agreed; they left with a shiny pink bag.
While her husband was committing mass murder, Salman was in her pajamas, asleep in their home in Fort Pierce, Florida. Seven months later, she was charged with aiding and abetting her husband and obstructing justice for allegedly lying to the FBI. Prosecutors claimed that Salman helped her husband scout potential locations for the attack, created a cover story for him and participated in unusual spending.
The seemingly ordinary excursion to a mall store was now center stage in a federal terrorism trial. In the days leading up to the shooting, Mateen spent thousands of dollars on Salman, buying her clothes and jewelry, including a diamond ring. Prosecutors suggested she got the gifts in exchange for agreeing to help him carry out his heinous plan.
There was zero evidence that Salman was radicalized herself, they admitted. Instead, they argued that she was content to trade her husband – the sole provider for her and her 3-year-old son – for baubles and designer wear.
Salman, who did not testify in the trial herself, pleaded not guilty, and maintained through her lawyers that she had no knowledge of Mateen’s plans. When he began showering her with presents in the weeks before the massacre, Salman was optimistic about their future, her lawyers said, and believed it was a sign her husband – a brutish, abusive man who only permitted her a $20 allowance each week – was changing.
For the 49 families of the victims, the trial was an opportunity for closure. And yet, they didn’t get to see the man that took their loved one’s lives. Instead, they got his wife.
Outside the federal courthouse, on a lunch break from the trial, Salman’s cousin was seething. Susan Adieh, didn’t recognize the one-dimensional cliched caricature the prosecution had described, and she didn’t understand why Salman was on trial. The wives of other terrorists and mass killers never faced charges. She wondered if her family’s religion played a role, even though Salman was not religious.
After all, they were Muslim.
Susan Clary, the family spokesperson, said that many other relatives wanted to come to support Salman, but they were afraid. As Muslim Americans, they worried about being associated with the terrorism case; their jobs could be at stake.
After all, they were Muslim… Pretty much sums it all up right there. Somewhere the shade of bin Laden is smiling. He got almost everything he wanted, as delineated in his manifesto, out of the 9-11 attack.
Click over and read the whole thing. And recognize that on this Good Friday, which is also the first night of Passover, justice has prevailed in a courtroom in Florida.