Pulse shooter's wife Noor Salman declines to testify in federal court

Evidence suppression hearing concludes in Orlando

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

ORLANDO, Fla. - The widow of Pulse mass shooter Omar Mateen declined to take the stand Friday during the second day of an evidence suppression hearing in federal court in Orlando.

Lawyers for Noor Salman, 31, originally scheduled their client to take the stand on Friday, but then later decided against it. 

Salman is accused of aiding and abetting, as well as obstruction of justice in connection with the terrorist attack at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, which left 49 people dead and dozens of others injured.

Her lawyers are attempting to suppress conversations Salman had with law enforcement following the mass shooting so they can't be used against her when she goes on trial in March.

On Thursday, the court heard from FBI agents, who said that Salman admitted she lied to them and exhibited "odd" behavior in the hours after the shooting. 

FBI agent Ricardo Enriquez claims Salman told her that she saw Mateen scope out Pulse before the attack and that she apologized for not contacting law enforcement before he could execute his plan.

Salman's lawyers argued on Friday that those statements should be thrown out because Salman wasn't read her Miranda rights until after she arrived at the FBI office.

Federal prosecutors countered that argument, saying that authorities were not required to read Salman her Miranda rights because she was not officially in custody or detained, meaning she was free to go if she wanted.

News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer said the defense attorney's would not be doing their jobs if they didn't at least raise that idea as an objection.

"The obligation for the police to read someone their Miranda rights really triggers at the time of the arrest, and when we say arrest we don't necessarily mean in handcuffs, behind a jail cell. What we mean is somebody is not free to leave," Kramer said.

Kramer said in Salman's case, it's not exactly clear.

"Was she in custody? Was she not? And that's really the evidence we saw in front of the court, is the court weighing the facts in this case and trying to make the determination whether Miranda needed to be read or not at that point," Kramer said.

Kramer made it clear that it was difficult to predict what would happen in Salman's case, but that he doesn't think the defense's argument will stand.

"They are basically saying, because she wasn't read Miranda initially, that everything goes out the window, and I just I don't think that's going to stick in this situation," Kramer said. "For the statements after the Miranda, I think those are going to stay in. For the statements before Miranda, I think it's a toss up."

Orlando Torres, who survived the nightclub attack, said he believes that if Salman was aware of Mateen's plans, she should be charged accordingly.

"Right now, the holidays are here and our loved ones are not here and it's tough. Families are not spending with their 49 here," Torres said. "There is a need for justice and if she had knowledge, she should be held accountable, and I don't think that's only in my heart, but many of the other survivors as well."

Friday's court session began at 9:30 a.m. and concluded shortly after 11 a.m. No timeline has been given for when the judge will deliver a ruling on what evidence will be permitted during trial.

Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for more updates on this developing story.

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