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Pulse nightclub shooter's wife, Noor Salman, appears in court

Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 @ 2:48 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 @ 2:48 PM
By: Theresa Seiger - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

The wife of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen made her first appearance Tuesday in a California court, one day after FBI agents arrested her on a pair of charges related to the deadly attack.

Noor Zahi Salman, 30, is expected back in court Wednesday for her arraignment. She was apprehended at her parents' home in Dublin, California, where she was living with her 6-year-old son.

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Her husband, Omar Mateen, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group during a standoff last June at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He fatally shot 49 people and injured dozens more.

Federal prosecutors allege that Salman knew about Mateen's radicalization and attempted to help him get "material support" for the Islamic State group. She faces charges of aiding and abetting the attempted provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.

>> Related: Indictment: Wife knowingly aided Pulse nightclub shooter's attempt to send 'material support' to ISIS

She said little in court on Tuesday.

However, her uncle, Al Salman, spoke with reporters outside the federal courthouse in Oakland after her appearance. He denied that she had any connection to Mateen's attack and said she was instead focused on her son.

"She had no idea what that crazy guy (was) doing," he said. "She's innocent (and a) simple person. She would not hurt a fly."

He claimed that Noor Salman was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of Mateen and that she was afraid to leave the relationship because of her child, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"If she (knew) what that crazy guy would do, she wouldn't be here," he said. "She would take her son and run away from him."

Federal prosecutors said in a news release that Noor Salman attempted to help Mateen get resources for the Islamic State group starting no later than the end of April 2016, about a month before the deadly shooting at Pulse. Prosecutors claim that she lied to FBI agents and Fort Pierce police before the attack.

"(Salman) did knowingly engage in misleading conduct ... with the intent to hinder, delay and prevent the communication to federal law enforcement officers and judges of the United States of information relating to the commission and possible commission of a federal offense," authorities wrote in an indictment.

If convicted, Noor Salman could face life in prison. She is being held without bond ahead of Wednesday's hearing.

WFTV.com contributed to this report.