ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - A judge has denied a request by attorneys representing the widow of the Pulse nightclub gunman, that she be acquitted of the charges brought against her related to the massacre. Neither Noor Salman, nor the jury was in court at the time.
The motion for a judgment of acquittal is not uncommon and was expected, as defense attorneys argue that the prosecutors did not present sufficient evidence to prove charges against the defendant.
Salman, 31, is on trial in federal court for aiding and abetting her husband, Omar Mateen, in providing material support to a foreign terror organization. She also face charges related to obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents.
Forty-nine people were killed inside Pulse and 58 people were injured in the massacre on the morning of June 12, 2016. Salman has pleaded not guilty, but if convicted, she could get life in prison.
Prosecutors rested their against Salman a day earlier. U.S. District Judge Paul Byron is presiding over the trial, and he has expressed concern after testimony revealed that FBI agents knew cell tower records offered no evidence Salman and Mateen drove around the Pulse nightclub in the week before the shooting. He questioned why he was not given the information sooner ,after Salman’s arrest in January 2017.
"They're very upset that Noor continues to be in jail, when much of the evidence presented to revoke her bond in California is false," said Salman Family spokesperson Susan Clary.
Because it was believed Salman and Mateen were casing the nightclub together in the days prior to the shooting, Judge Byron said it was one of the many factors for which he decided to revoke her bond which had been granted to her by the judge in California. Salman has been jailed ever since, but the bond issue will be taken up at a later date.
"He would allow them to file a motion to consider bond, and they're working on that motion," Clary explained.
Prosecutors on Friday had to tell the judge that they have specific evidence pertaining to the aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice charges against Salman. Evidence, they claim, includes the pair casing shoppings centers in South and Central Florida.
"So far, the government has failed to provide real evidence, hard evidence that links Noor Salman to the cirmes of Omar Mateen," said Ahmed Bedier, of United Voices for America.
The judge dismissed the motion saying it's not for him to play juror. He also went through jury instructions.
The case resumes on Monday, when the defense will call their 13 witnesses.