Noor Salman is a mother, not a monster.
Noor Salman, 31, sobbed upon hearing the jury's verdict of not guilty of obstruction of justice and providing material support to a terrorist organization, charges that could have brought life in prison.
Attorney Charles Swift argued there was no way Ms Salman knew Mateen would attack the Pulse nightclub because even he didn't know he would attack it until moments before the shooting. However, her attorneys contended that her statements were coerced and were false.
Prosecutors in the case kept their comments brief.
" I rely on our criminal justice system as well as am grateful for the court's effort and also consideration", Orlando Police Chief John Mina stated in a declaration launched after the judgment, additionally giving thanks to district attorneys and also police.
He thanked the jury for their work. A neighbor who knows the family well said they are good people.
"It was a hard case for all sides involved", said Judge Paul G. Byron of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Godman was among several survivors and their supporters who gathered outside Pulse, about 2 miles (3 km) from the courthouse. Her uncle told reporters that he was taking Salman back to her home in the East Bay city of Rodeo to be reunited with her son, who is now 5 years old. "However, we were not tasked with deciding if she was aware of a potential attack", the foreperson said.
Salman did not testify in her defense.
That said, her defense attorney, Linda Moreno, later said that Salman was intimidated by FBI investigators into giving a false confession. She falsely claimed that her husband didn't use the internet in their home, that he had deactivated his Facebook account years earlier, that he had one gun when he had three, and that he wasn't radicalized, they said.
Using geolocation data from cellphone records and documentary evidence of the couple's whereabouts, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had already concluded - long before Salman was arrested - that it was impossible that she went to Pulse with Mateen on that date.
We remain committed to ensuring those who have been directly impacted by this tragedy, receive the support and care that is needed.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings released a statement expressing his disappointment in the verdict. In the statement, Salman said over "the last two years, Omar talked to me about jihad".
After the verdict, prosecutors said they were disappointed in the jury's decision and took no questions. The FBI had obtained Salman's admission of guilt after 11 hours of interrogating her, without an attorney present, and had neglected to record that interrogation, leaving them with no audio or video of her confession - much of which was not written by Salman but merely initialed by her. Salman's lawyer, Linda Moreno, drew on these facts in making case that numerous words in that alleged confession had been "planted" by the FBI - including those that suggested Salman had scouted the Pulse nightclub with her husband. "I'm confident that we will continue to demonstrate the principles of healing, compassion and peace".