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Judge okays release of Florida nightclub shooter's widow from jail

Judge okays release of Florida nightclub shooter's widow from jail

A federal judge in California has granted bail for Noor Salman, widow of the Pulse nightclub attacker Omar Mateen, and cast doubt on the government's case against her. Mateen killed 49 people at the Orlando, Florida gay nightclub a year ago. It's the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history.

Another attorney for Salman, Charles Swift, questioned the statements that she made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation without a lawyer present, and told ABC News that Salman "had no foreknowledge nor could she predict what Omar Mateen meant to do that tragic night". She has pleaded guilty and faces life in prison if convicted.

The 31-year-old appeared in a courtroom in Oakland, wearing an orange jumpsuit. If released, she will be forced to wear an ankle monitor and remain under house arrest.

The mother and uncle each pledged their homes as collateral to secure Salman's release. Her next court appearance has been set for March 9. Salman's lawyers say the judge's decision to release her while she awaits trial shows that the government has a weak case.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said in a statement he was "disappointed" by the decision but that he had "full faith that she will ultimately be brought to justice". They point to her actions on the night of the attack in which she shopped for a Father's Day gift for Mateen and planned a family vacation as evidence that she was unaware of her husband's violent plans.

The psych evaluation was ordered in early February after Salman was said by a probation officer to be displaying a very "depressed affect" after just two weeks in custody.

The judge found the weight of the evidence by the government as "debatable" and "vulnerable" to fact.

The AP has a few new details of the prosecution's case that had not been previously reported, including that Salman and/or Mateen had purchased an $8,000 diamond ring for Salman in the days before the shooting. Mateen physically abused Salman, he said, and never told her about his plans to carry out the killings.

Noor Salman is reappearing in federal court Wednesday for a scheduled bail hearing following her arrest in January on charges of aiding and abetting terrorism and obstruction of justice.

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